first waterbank school by PITCHafrica opens in kenya
original content
dec 11, 2012
first waterbank school by PITCHafrica opens in kenya

‘waterbank school’ by PITCHafrica, kenya, africa
image © PITCHafrica



water shortage is increasingly becoming a very real problem in semi-arid regions of the world, directly affecting not only health but societal life as well.
british architects jane harrison and david turnbill from atopia research worked closely with american organization PITCHafrica in collaboration with
the zeits foundation, an african NGO, are revolutionizing the well-being of entire communities by opening the first ‘waterbank school’ near ngare nyiro in kenya.
the educational facility introduces many new ideas to the region and is expected to be reproduced all over the continent and eventually the world, providing
an alternative to the current infrastructure surrounding water scarcity. the establishment will collect water, filter and store it on site, assuring that every
child has access to five liters per day. it may not seem like a significant amount, but this means that children who usually spend hours collecting water
for their families, namely the girls, will now be able to spend that time at school, learning about the vital skills necessary to go on and build healthier
happier communities. the project will also expand, with a water dormitory and sanitation center planned to be built next year.


the region has an average rainfall of 60 cm per year, 30 cm more than the minimal requirement for the school to be effective. the traditional rectangular
footprint for this scope of project was traded for the circle, with a 600 m2 roof water catchment system. four indoor/outdoor classrooms with the
capacity for 50-60 students, vegetable gardens, four teachers’ rooms, a community space, workshop and theater are organized around a central
square courtyard that contains below it a 150,000 water cistern with integrated filtration system. the structure was built by local labor and uses a
cast-in-place concrete frame infilled with brick masonry walls, all sourced from local materials. the wood truss roof inclines towards the middle,
with a corrugated metal skin whose grooves guide the water to the reservoir tank. the thick mass of the construction helps regulate temperature with
the help of equally spaced horizontal timber louvers, and the native materials integrate the building seamlessly into the landscape.



masonry wall exterior
image © PITCHafrica



opening day ceremonies
image © PITCHafrica


the community gathers to visit the new school
image © PITCHafrica



interior courtyard with the water reservoir underneath
image © PITCHafrica



wood truss roof creates a tall space for heat to be ventilated out
image © PITCHafrica



central courtyard with wooden louvers controlling direct sunlight
image © PITCHafrica



entrance with a flat section doubling as a theater backdrop
image © PITCHafrica



image © PITCHafrica



construction of the water cistern
image © PITCHafrica



outer masonry wall
image © PITCHafrica



concrete primary structure and wood secondary structure
image © PITCHafrica



wooden truss and joists make up the roof
image © PITCHafrica

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