Architecture

Off-grid Malawi school built using shipping containers

Off-grid Malawi school built u...
The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School was completed earlier this year (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School was completed earlier this year (Photo: Architecture for a change)
View 22 Images
The school was constructed by Johannesburg-based firm Architecture For A Change (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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The school was constructed by Johannesburg-based firm Architecture For A Change (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School measures a total of 380 sq m (4,090 sq ft) (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School measures a total of 380 sq m (4,090 sq ft) (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The school comprises two classrooms, a large central courtyard, and some bleachers (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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The school comprises two classrooms, a large central courtyard, and some bleachers (Photo: Architecture for a change)
Though primarily used to teach children, the building also serves as an adult training center, market, and community center on evenings and weekend (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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Though primarily used to teach children, the building also serves as an adult training center, market, and community center on evenings and weekend (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School was completed earlier this year (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School was completed earlier this year (Photo: Architecture for a change)
During the build, A4AC used a number of containers as a starting point (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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During the build, A4AC used a number of containers as a starting point (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The containers were modified and a lightweight steel supporting frame and metal roof were added (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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The containers were modified and a lightweight steel supporting frame and metal roof were added (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The firm also removed sections of the containers in favor of louver walls made from local masonry to encourage natural ventilation (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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The firm also removed sections of the containers in favor of louver walls made from local masonry to encourage natural ventilation (Photo: Architecture for a change)
Building the school (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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Building the school (Photo: Architecture for a change)
Exterior shot of the school (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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Exterior shot of the school (Photo: Architecture for a change)
Shutters can be opened to turn the classrooms into a semi-outdoor space (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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Shutters can be opened to turn the classrooms into a semi-outdoor space (Photo: Architecture for a change)
Shutters can be opened to turn the classrooms into a semi-outdoor space (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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Shutters can be opened to turn the classrooms into a semi-outdoor space (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The container roofs are angled to encourage rainwater to fall into gutters which then channel into water tanks (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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The container roofs are angled to encourage rainwater to fall into gutters which then channel into water tanks (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The school was constructed by Johannesburg-based firm Architecture for a change (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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The school was constructed by Johannesburg-based firm Architecture for a change (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The containers were modified and a lightweight steel supporting frame and metal roof were added (Photo: Architecture for a change)
15/22
The containers were modified and a lightweight steel supporting frame and metal roof were added (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The firm also removed sections of the containers in favor of louver walls made from local masonry to encourage natural ventilation (Photo: Architecture for a change)
16/22
The firm also removed sections of the containers in favor of louver walls made from local masonry to encourage natural ventilation (Photo: Architecture for a change)
Though primarily used to teach children, the building also serves as an adult training center, market, and community center on evenings and weekend (Photo: Architecture for a change)
17/22
Though primarily used to teach children, the building also serves as an adult training center, market, and community center on evenings and weekend (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School was completed earlier this year (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School was completed earlier this year (Photo: Architecture for a change)
The school was constructed by Johannesburg-based firm Architecture for a change (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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The school was constructed by Johannesburg-based firm Architecture for a change (Photo: Architecture for a change)
Exterior shot of the school (Photo: Architecture for a change)
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Exterior shot of the school (Photo: Architecture for a change)
Architectural drawing (Image: Architecture for a change)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Architecture for a change)
Architectural drawing (Image: Architecture for a change)
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Architectural drawing (Image: Architecture for a change)
View gallery - 22 images

Shipping container-based buildings can suffer – indeed, usually do suffer – from significant insulation issues. But Johannesburg-based firm Architecture for a change (A4AC) recently built a community center and school in Malawi from shipping containers that aims to mitigate this with an open design. The firm also installed rainwater harvesting and solar power to allow the school to operate off-grid.

The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School is a simple structure, both inside and out. It measures 380 sq m (4,090 sq ft), and comprises two classrooms, a large central courtyard, and some bleachers. The building is primarily used to teach children, but also serves as an adult training center, weekend market, and community center.

Though primarily used to teach children, the building also serves as an adult training center, market, and community center on evenings and weekend (Photo: Architecture for a change)
Though primarily used to teach children, the building also serves as an adult training center, market, and community center on evenings and weekend (Photo: Architecture for a change)

The school was manufactured at A4AC's workshop in South Africa, before being transported to Malawi. During construction, the firm used a number of shipping containers as a basic building material and added a lightweight steel supporting frame and roof. A4AC also removed sections of the containers and installed louvered walls to encourage natural ventilation.

In addition, large sections of the classroom walls can be opened on a hinge in order to turn the interior into a semi-outdoor space, and shade netting helps block out the sun. The roofs are angled to channel rainwater into gutters which then feed water storage tanks. The roofs also sport solar panels which provide power for the interior lighting and a laptop and projector, which is used to show movies and soccer games.

The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School was completed earlier this year. In all, on-site construction took just eight weeks.

Source: Architecture for a change via Arch Daily

View gallery - 22 images
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