BUILDING THE SCHOOL CAFETERIA FOR THE COMMUNITY SECONDARY SCHOOL IN ABETENIM, GHANA
In the beginning of 2016, we, Anna Schweiger and Jaap Willemsen, decided to participate in the 4th Earth Architecture Competition. This international competition, organised by the NKA foundation, focused on earth (mud) as a building material and, in this edition, centered on a Masterplan for a community secondary school in Abetenim, Ghana. The design-exercise was to develop a modular-design for one of the functions of the school (classrooms, dorms, cafeteria etc.) so that the campus can grow along with its number of students. Our design entry was shortlisted by the International Jury and now we have been invited to build our design for the school cafeteria.
We are planning a workshop for the summer of 2017 in which we will construct several modules of our cafeteria design with the help of volunteers (students) and the local community. The workshop aims to serve as a learning environment where both the students and the local community can gain valuable practical experience building with earth. Furthermore innovative building techniques can be put into practice to improve the building discourse in the developing world.
Of course the most important goal is to give the children in rural Ghana access to secondary education. Education is the key for underserved regions to take their future in their own hands, which, in our opinion,should be the focal point of international development efforts.
In the past few years we have learned that the daily routine of an architect is strongly governed by economic parameters and socio-cultural or environmental aspects often fade into the background. Therefore we felt the need to fuel our creativity again and we decided to participate in an architecture competition. The design exercise of 4th Earth Architecture competition seemed just the right project for us as it deals with the lifes of children in need and also strongly focuses on sustainable design. With the invitation by the NKA foundation to organize a workshop in Abetenim we are offered a great opportunity to realize our design for the school cafeteria and hopefully we can give the children in and around Abetenim a chance for a better future.