Benga - Malawi_2019 - Third Prize at African School Project Competition



Location: Benga (Malawi) 

Competition issued by: Archstorming


AOUMM + Monoatelier Architects

Design Team

Luca Astorri
Riccardo Maria Balzarotti
Alberto Pottenghi
Nicolò Lastrico
Melina Koutra
Micaela Ortega
Luciana Pozzo
Zhou Ruizhe


Lorenzo Parilli

Courtyard building as a community building. Inspired by the traditional compound, where rural communities’ lives sharing resources, knowledge and simply daily life, courtyards are the key to create different “micro cosmos” with different functions and atmospheres. The courtyards, composed by different classes and students of different ages, are thought to recreate the social dynamics of a rural community where young children spend time with older children have delegated responsibility to care for and supervise younger children. This will generate a participative spirit and child to child sociability. The entire project is planned to be built by local builders using local materials. This choice answer to the scarcity of resources and it should encourage the community to take part in maintaining the building. Buildings are placed on a basement, against humidity and flooding, and walls are made out of stabilized soil bricks. These bricks beside from being cheap and easy to produce, it will also provide thermal protection. Perforated ceiling allows maximum ventilation, pulling cool air in from the windows and releasing hot air out through the holes. Shading for the buildings comes from metal shutters, and screens made out of eucalyptus sticks, which are placed on the sides most exposed to the sun. This will create an area where temperatures are lower than outside, and it will cool down the air flow into the classrooms. The entire project is based on a module that meets the dimension of a well-defined standard classroom, which has been used to respond to the entire program, with the exception of the multipurpose building. The multipurpose building, as well as the main courtyards, will be used by the students but, potentially, also from the local community for important events.