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Gando Primary School

Status:

Completed

Date:

2001

Site:

Gando, Burkina Faso

Size:

520 sqm

Client:

Community of Gando / Kéré Foundation e.V.

Collaborators:

Community of Gando

Awards:

Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2004, Global Award for Sustainbale Architecture 2009

The Gando Primary School was built to expand the sparse network of schools in the province of Boulgou, in the east of Burkina Faso, and addressed two characteristic problems of many educational buildings in the area: poor lighting and ventilation. 

Francis Kéré created a design that resolved these issues directly, within the parameters set by cost, climate, resource availability and construction feasibility. Clay is abundantly available in the region and traditionally used in house building, so a clay/cement hybrid was used to create structurally robust bricks. These are not only easy to produce, but also provide thermal protection against the hot climate. Despite their durability, however, the walls must be protected from damaging rains by an overhanging roof.

In Burkina Faso, corrugated metal roofs are a popular solution, although they absorb the direct sunlight and overheat the interior of the buildings. Kéré’s design solves this problem by pulling the roof of the Gando Primary School away from the learning space of the interior. A dry-stacked brick ceiling is introduced in between, allowing for maximum ventilation: cool air is pulled in from the interior windows, while hot air is released out through perforations in the clay roof. This also significantly reduces the ecological footprint of the school by alleviating the need for air-conditioning.

For this project, traditional building techniques and modern engineering methods were combined to produce the best quality building solution while simplifying construction and future maintenance. The success of the project can be attributed to the close involvement of the local population in the building process. With the support of his community, and funds raised through Kéré Foundation e.V., Kéré was able to realise his very first building. It marks the birth of Kéré Architecture and Kéré’s ongoing collaboration with his community in Gando through the Kéré Foundation e.V..


The Gando Primary School was built to expand the sparse network of schools in the province of Boulgou, in the east of Burkina Faso, and addressed two characteristic problems of many educational buildings in the area: poor lighting and ventilation. 

Francis Kéré created a design that resolved these issues directly, within the parameters set by cost, climate, resource availability and construction feasibility. Clay is abundantly available in the region and traditionally used in house building, so a clay/cement hybrid was used to create structurally robust bricks. These are not only easy to produce, but also provide thermal protection against the hot climate. Despite their durability, however, the walls must be protected from damaging rains by an overhanging roof.

In Burkina Faso, corrugated metal roofs are a popular solution, although they absorb the direct sunlight and overheat the interior of the buildings. Kéré’s design solves this problem by pulling the roof of the Gando Primary School away from the learning space of the interior. A dry-stacked brick ceiling is introduced in between, allowing for maximum ventilation: cool air is pulled in from the interior windows, while hot air is released out through perforations in the clay roof. This also significantly reduces the ecological footprint of the school by alleviating the need for air-conditioning.

For this project, traditional building techniques and modern engineering methods were combined to produce the best quality building solution while simplifying construction and future maintenance. The success of the project can be attributed to the close involvement of the local population in the building process. With the support of his community, and funds raised through Kéré Foundation e.V., Kéré was able to realise his very first building. It marks the birth of Kéré Architecture and Kéré’s ongoing collaboration with his community in Gando through the Kéré Foundation e.V..


Gando Primary School. Photo by Simeon Duchoud.
Axonometry of Gando Primary School.
Gando Primary School. Photo by Simeon Duchoud.
Sections of Gando Primary School.
Students sitting in the shade of Gando Primary School. Photo by Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk.
Interior of Gando Primary School. Phtoto by Simeon Duchoud.
Students being taught at Gando Primary School. Photo by Erik-Jan Ouwerkerk.
Plan of Gando Primary School.
Detail of roof of Gando Primary School. Photo by Kéré Architecture.