Niamey 2000, Niger urban housing

CEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal Building Design, West African Education Architecture Photos, Thionck Essyl

CEM Kamanar Secondary School in Thionck Essyl

24 June 2022

Design: Dawoffice / David Garcia, Aina Tugores

Location: Thionck Essyl, Senegal, West Africa

The modules are arranged in year-group classroom sets around squares and existing trees:
CEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal BuildingCEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal Building

Photos by Amir Anoushfar

CEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal Building, West Africa

When architects from Dawoffice saw the overcrowding at Thionck Essyl’s only secondary school, they resolved to build a new one through their charitable foundation, Foundawtion.

The clay vault modules were produced using local techniques:
CEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal BuildingCEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal Building

Climatic comfort and low cost were paramount. Clay, the region’s most abundant material, was freely available on site; the quarry became the school’s sports field.

A series of squares articulate the space and give value to the pre-existing trees:
CEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal BuildingCEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal Building

The catenary vault form was chosen because it works purely in compression – the only stress that clay can withstand. Clay vault modules produced by volunteers using local techniques are enclosed with wooden lattices, allowing light in.

The vaults are made of compressed clay blocks:
CEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal BuildingCEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal Building

The clay and lattices act as an evaporating cooler – no artificial air-conditioning is required. Grooved metal sheeting protects the clay from rain and sunlight.

Interior view of a classroom:
CEM Kamanar Secondary School Thionck EssylCEM Kamanar Secondary School Thionck Essyl

The clay and lattices act as an evaporating cooler: no artificial air-conditioning is required:
CEM Kamanar Secondary School Thionck Essyl interiorCEM Kamanar Secondary School Thionck Essyl interior

The building includes two administration volumes and sanitary facilities.

Each square is linked to a tree:
CEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal BuildingCEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal Building

The detached modules or “awlas” are arranged in year-group classroom sets around a series of squares, each accommodating a pre-existing tree.

Outdoor seating shaded by a large tree:
CEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal BuildingCEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal Building

A library, two administration volumes, sanitary facilities and a Foundawtion space complete the complex. Its modular form facilitates future expansion.

Site plan:
Thionck Essyl school plan layoutThionck Essyl school plan layout
image courtesy of architects practice

CEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal Building, West Africa – Building Information

Title: CEM Kamanar Secondary School
Award Cycle: 2020-2022 Cycle
Status: Shortlisted

Location: Thionck Essyl, Senegal
Client: Foundawtion
Architect: Dawoffice / David Garcia, Aina Tugores
Completed: 2020
Country of origin: Senegal

Aga Khan Trust for Culture / Amir Anoushfar (photographer)

2022 Aga Khan Award for Architecture Shortlist

CEM Kamanar Secondary School Senegal Building images / information received 020622 from the Aga Khan Award for Architecture – AKAA

Location: Thionck Essyl,Senegal, West Africa

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