Biemnom Educational Centre
TEACHSS (Teacher Education and Children’s Health in Southern Sudan) approached Sahuri + partners to partner on the master plan of an educational centre in Biemnom, Sudan. The goal of this ambitious project is to provide elementary space for 2000 students, a Vocational School where students can learn a trade, and a Teacher’s Institute that will provide future teachers for the centre. Along with the required community centre, medical centre, kitchen, resource area and dormitory, the scope of the project required careful consideration.
Our concept was to look at the Centre as a village with a strong community centre that anchors the other elements. We started by creating 4 courtyard blocks that were divided by the shared amenities and focused on a community building. For ease of construction, the intent was for the buildings in the each of the courtyard blocks to have the same exterior dimensions, with the variations occurring with the placement of the interior walls. In this way the courtyard blocks could then be assigned to the elementary school, vocational school, or teacher’s institute as required, and would allow for future change and flexibility should the needs in Biemnom change in the future.
From a sustainable standpoint, it was important that this centre be as self supportive as possible. To meet this end, the master planning concept took into consideration principles of water collection and distribution. The majority of the village is considered dry, with all of the plumbing located along a central corridor. The design elements to support this system include a roof system that will channel water into underground cisterns, solar pumps that will move the water through filters to water towers where the water can then be gravity fed to the locations where it is needed, and a septic system that will allow for waste water to be naturally filtered on site. These strategies, along with passive cooling, solar collection and building orientation will go a long way in creating learning environments that will support the development of this area.