using local materials and construction techniques, spanish architect alberto figueroa has developed a prototypical classroom that forms part of a high school campus in ghana’s ashanti region. in addition to engaging local workers, the project also benefited from international volunteers — both architecture students and graduates — who were able to experience sustainable construction systems, such as rammed earth, firsthand.

alberto figueroa ghana school
all images courtesy of alberto figueroa



the project, which has been documented in full on alberto figueroa’s website, is the result of an international competition organized by the non-profit NKA foundation. the building’s planned configuration was redesigned on site in accordance with its context. its orientation and geometry minimize exposure to direct sunlight, while maximizing indirect sunlight and eliminating the need for artificial lighting. overhead, the roof not only collects rainwater to be used for future washrooms, but also ensures a good acoustic environment.

alberto figueroa ghana school
the color and geometry of the façade references the manually woven fabric native to the region



internally, the scheme comprises a classroom as well as a lobby space that provides storage, and a study/reading space for students. meanwhile, the color and geometry of the façade references kente — a manually woven fabric native to the akan ethnic group of south ghana. the building was constructed using two different techniques: rammed earth for the building’s base, and, above, a wooden structure that allows for cross ventilation, indirect sunlight, and a visual connection with the surroundings.

alberto figueroa ghana school
openings ensure external views of the surroundings

alberto figueroa ghana school
the design maximizes indirect sunlight, eliminating the need for artificial lighting

alberto figueroa ghana school
the roof has been shaped to ensure a good acoustic environment

alberto figueroa ghana school
the overhead canopy also collects rainwater to be used for future washrooms

alberto figueroa ghana school
the school campus is located in ghana’s ashanti region



project info:


location: abetenim, ghana
NGO: NKA foundation
built area: 113 sqm / 1,216 sqf
budget: $5,000 USD / 23,000 ghana cedis
year: 2017


volunteers: francesca de lorenzi, miguel lana, maria luisa caamaño, jaufret barrot, eduardo mora, laura benito, elena álvarez, elio martinez, laura cabeza, elena vecino, clara ordovas, nieves martín, marisa ruiz, luis plana, eduardo martin, javier temprano, cayetana molla y damien pinto
local workers: edward ampomah, joseph chris, and joseph owusu

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