Jubilant • Joy • Full • Land

a proposal for a nursery school for the children of the Jubilant Orphanage in Moshi, Tanzania
"Creativity is as important in education as literacy"
~ Sir Ken Robinson

Creativity, play and nature are in the essence of the design proposal for the Jubilant nursery school. In its name, the organisation expresses the importance of joy and excitement in a child’s life and in order to naturally continue the spirit of the wonderful work it does, this project aims to create an environment that brings smiles and positivity. The school’s architecture embraces the children as a large playground and its programme stimulates their holistic development through creative expression, motor function engagement and discovery through curiosity and exploration. The objective of the design is for the school to become an educator itself, in which children can observe and learn about the processes of nature, understand the importance of caring for the environment
and become an active part in sustaining it from a very early age. This intention will extend to the community as the project becomes a participative initiative for locals and volunteers, nurturing knowledge and skills for sustainable development and enlivening the neighbourhood.
A path from the orphanage takes the children through their own entrance to the north of the site and leads them to the classrooms through a long corridor ramp with a blackboard for drawing. Teachers and visitors, on the other hand, can access from the south, where they are greeted by a beautifully decorated façade and a main entrance opening to the courtyard and reception. The key to a dynamic school day are flexible and meaningful spaces that provide a variety of ways for teaching with kids always in the focus. All the classrooms can be adapted for traditional studying, creative workshops, sleeping or other methods for physical and mental activities. The windows, made of timber frame and permeable Milulu grass mesh act as partitions that can achieve multiple levels of privacy and openness to the courtyard - a play between inside and outside that allows for optimum sunlight and climate control. Three color palettes define each classroom and traditional kanga fabrics create beautiful overhead canopies, while also helping with sound and heat insulation.
The simplicity of the design takes into account the budget and is respectful to the site with minimal intervention. The spaces take the geometry of the land and open up to a courtyard, framed by the existing vegetation, which shelters and protects, while keeping an open plan. Celebrating the terrain, the levels of the school are intricately shaped by the topography and terrace down from the highest to the lowest point, all fully accessible by ramps. The courtyard becomes an enlargement of all the zones and ensures the spaces for play and creativity are maximized. Sustainability has a vital role in the design, which is almost entirely made out of the available CEBs. Their potential and versatility have been expressed in a variety of wall shapes and openings. In addition to using local materials, many eco-solutions have been implemented to improve daily life, such as water harvesting, rocket stove, creating natural fertilizer and growing food. The proposal also makes multiple parallels with cultural traditions and crafts. Throughout the school, diverse patterns decorate the walls with perforations, expressing both cultural motifs and children’s drawings. Sunlight penetrates through those gaps creating an ever-changing play of light and shadow that brings everything to life. As well as being an aesthetic element - these openings also provide natural ventilation for the whole school.
The courtyard stage area forms around a set made from tyres and a “landscape” of tiered seating which can be used for playing, outdoor classrooms or a space for kids from all groups and teachers to congregate and watch a performance by their friends. The importance of involving all kinds of artistic activities, such as theatre, music and dance, nurtures creativity and social abilities amongst the kids. The kitchen and dining area are semi-open spaces that become more than a space for cooking and eating but rather a place for gatherings and togetherness. The fireplace creates a central feature around which the tiered seating can accommodate kids and teachers- becoming a cozy shelter for socializing. The wet unit is separated from the main circulation in order to reduce odor and maintain hygiene. There are two compost toilets and two sinks, receiving filtered water directly from the rain tank. The garden provides space for teachers and kids to grow different types of plants and food, using the harvested water and the produced fertilizer. This active engagement stimulates a lot of health benefits and deep understanding of the full cycle and processes of nature, needed to sustain life.
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