Capita Architecture supports Gorom Gorom charity school project

14 July 2010

Architects at Capita Architecture’s Cardiff studio, working with the Acacia Partnership Trust charity, have been giving their free time to design ancillary accommodation for a new primary school in the market town of Gorom Gorom in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

Burkina Faso is one of the three poorest countries in the world and has the lowest level of literacy of any nation.

Senior Associate Director Richard Woods and his team have been working with the charity, in collaboration with a Burkinabe church denomination experienced in running schools. The school will have an open admissions policy and has been developed to a conventional design: two parallel blocks of three classrooms with rendered cement block walls and a profiled metal roof.

The ancillary accommodation - teachers’ housing, ‘break-out’ structures, stores, kitchen, composting latrines and associated external works - is being designed by Richard and his fellow volunteers who are working closely with an organisation called Development Workshop (DW).  

Gorom Gorom teacher and children

Run by UK architect John Norton, DW have over 30 years’ experience of building sustainable unfired mud-brick structures comprising vaulted and domed structures, finished with earth renders. Their buildings are easy to construct, make elegant structures and are easy to maintain. Local people are trained in these woodless construction techniques, and small local businesses are facilitated through DW’s support. As an example, the teachers’ houses in Gorom Gorom will use quarry-tiled floors made by local women’s collectives.

Capita Architecture has funded travel costs for Richard and his team, with the aim that they will be able to visit the site during the construction of the school and ancillary accommodation in the autumn to give on-hand design advice and to learn from first-hand experience about the woodless construction techniques. InterfaceFLOR, the sustainable carpet tile specialists, has also provided invaluable support for the construction of domed, break-out learning spaces.