2nd Prize

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Project by: Rotem Fintz, Niv Arbiv
from Israel
 Rotem Fintz, Niv Arbiv .
winning team kairalooro 2023


The concept for this school revolves around the idea of openness and community. The school is designed as a cohesive united block, symbolizing the unity of the community. Its outer shell opens and spreads, allowing the school building to be accessible to its students and the community. Despite this openness, the building remains interconnected through its corners, as a reminder of the importance of the community’s connection. Taking inspiration from the common single-structured schools in Senegal, creating 650 sqm of the different school programs, we approached the design by deconstructing and reorganizing the structure like a puzzle game. This transformation resulted in the creation of two yards and flexible inviting spaces, serving as a hub for cross-curricular activities for both the school and the community. The school's architectural design includes a sloping roof that serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it efficiently channels rainwater to drainage tunnels located in the exterior part of the school premises, contributing to the creation of a vital water reservoir. Additionally, the sloping roof aids in natural ventilation by allowing hot air to rise and exit through the spacious bamboo walls. This passive cooling technique helps maintain a comfortable and well-ventilated learning environment. Moreover, to optimize natural lighting, the sealed corrugated exterior is strategically positioned on the east and west sides, shielding against intense sunlight, while the use of bamboo walls on the north and south sides enables the penetration of ample natural light. The density of the bamboo differs according to necessary privacy or openness, and to the climate condition, ensuring optimal thermal comfort and lighting conditions within the classrooms. At the heart of the structure, the Library and Laboratory serve as public and adaptable spaces, featuring predominantly bamboo walls that promote a sense of openness and connection with the surroundings. Enhancing the flexibility and openness further, these spaces are equipped with rotating bamboo doors, enabling expansion and adaptation according to varying needs and activities. This innovative feature facilitates a seamless integration of the indoor and outdoor environments, fostering a dynamic atmosphere of collaboration and togetherness. The classrooms offer flexibility and fluidity in class arrangements to support a range of educational approaches, allowing dynamic arrangement to keep the students active in the learning process. The project prioritizes the allocation of larger and high-quality spaces for teachers, acknowledging their crucial role in elevating the level of education. By providing comfortable and functional areas, the project aims to attract and retain talented educators, foster collaboration, and create an environment that supports their professional development. In addition to the offices, the teacher’s staffroom not only serves as a meeting room but also as a lounge area and individual sitting areas for the welfare of the teachers.


The materials were inspired by the local common community-built classrooms out of metal sheet and bamboo canes, as resources to build with different materials are scarce. The metal sheet acts as the outer exposed surface of the united shape, giving it protection from the harsh sunlight and rain, while the inner parts are made of bamboo, which acts as a lattice - allows filtered light and cool breeze in and hot air to escape out. Thus, creating a pleasant inner climate ideal for studying, encouraging development of student potential. The building is constructed out of modules, employing easy self-construct technology and affordable, accessible materials. This approach empowers the community by instilling a sense of capability and accountability. Providing them the tools to create good and functioning architecture and expand the school when needed for the growing population in the future. The outer walls module consists of corrugated metal sheet on the exterior and plywood in the interior – trapping air in between to serve as insulation. The use of corrugated metal and bamboo in a module reflects the project's adaptability and flexibility, they can be easily modified or disassembled, allowing for future expansion, reconfiguration or relocation as educational needs evolve.


External Wall Construction:
The construction of the external walls will utilize a module based on a plywood measuring 120 x 240 cm. This plywood will serve as the module for the external walls. Construct the walls using a combination of corrugated iron, secondary wooden construction, and plywood. Remember to maintain a gap of 20 cm between the tin and the wooden board, as this is crucial for effective thermal air insulation of the rooms.

Ceiling and Hard Wall Installation:
Hang and support the modules that make up the ceiling and hard walls using screws. Ensure proper alignment and secure attachment to the overall construction. Utilize constructive wooden columns measuring 20/4 cm, distributed according to a grid of 2 meters by 2.75 meters. To anchor the wooden columns, use foundation to column metal and connect them to a concrete belt in the ground. This will provide stability and structural integrity to the building.

Soft Wall Construction:
Proceed with the construction of rotating doors within wooden frames. These doors will be filled with bamboo, approximately 2 cm in radius, in desired spacing. Additionally, use the same method to fill the remaining soft walls in the building, as per the architectural requirements according to climate conditions. This will ensure ideal climate in the interior and consistency and aesthetic appeal throughout the construction.

To complete the construction, start tilling the soil in the classrooms. Use a mixture of 20% clay, 80% sand. Add cement and straw as necessary, to provide tensile strength and reduce cracking. Take care to properly level and finish the floor to provide a comfortable and functional surface.

Team interview

Can you talk about your team?

W2nd winner kaira looro 2023 Rotem Fintz and Niv Arbiv We are 3rd year architecture school friends, and it was a great opportunity to work together on an impactful project. Each one of us gave into the project different views of design which finally merged. The challenges we faced led and developed the project to a more interesting and smart design.

What was your feeling when you knew you were among the top projects of the competition?

We were very excited. The journey of designing a school in Senegal, Africa, was fuelled by our genuine passion for architecture. Our primary focus throughout the process was to create an elementary school that would cater to the specific needs of the local community. We embarked on this endeavor without any preoccupations about our position in the competition, which made the news of our achievement surprising and flattering.

Can you briefly explain the concept of your project and which is the relationship between it and the education?

The concept for the school encompasses a cohesive form spanning 650 square meters. By carefully and playfully decomposing the programs, we have achieved a design that features a gentle inner facade, creating a sense of warmth and openness for the students within the building. Simultaneously, the exterior facade presents an opaque appearance, providing privacy and a sense of security for the children. The incorporation of inner courtyards and outdoor spaces further enhances the overall design, offering additional areas for interaction and connection, stimulating students minds and nurturing their maximum capabilities.

Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?

During the design process, we placed significant emphasis on two key aspects: functionality and user experience. From a functional standpoint, we focus on the design of the shell walls, which allow for versatility in the use of the classrooms. The inner walls are designed to create a separation between the outside and inside, while also facilitating ventilation and the introduction of filtered natural light. This approach ensures that the spaces are adaptable and provide optimal conditions for learning and comfort. During the design process, we also paid careful attention to addressing classroom ventilation and the local climate. This led us to consider the slope of the roofs in our design, ensuring that they allow for the release of hot air through strategically placed gaps. By incorporating this feature, we enhance natural airflow within the classrooms, promoting a comfortable and conducive learning environment for the children. In terms of user experience, we prioritised creating a dynamic and varied spatial journey for the children. Through careful calculations and considerations, we aim to maintain a sense of change and discovery as they move through the space. This approach allows for a range of different moments, including social gatherings and quiet corners, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of the children. By providing these varied experiences, we enhance their overall engagement and well-being within the learning environment. By focusing on these aspects, we aim to create designs that are not only functional but also offer an enriching and engaging user experience for the children.

How did the material choice affect your design?

The material choice of corrugated tin and bamboo played a significant role in shaping our design. We deliberately chose these materials based on their local availability and the community’s familiarity with working with them. This choice allowed us to create a design that respects the local context and engages the skills and knowledge of the local people. The selection of corrugated tin for the outer shell of the building creates a conversation between the structure and its surroundings. Its opaque nature offers protection and privacy, while also reflecting the vernacular architecture commonly seen in the area. This choice helps the building integrate harmoniously with its environment. On the other hand, the use of bamboo for the interior spaces evokes a sense of warmth and tenderness. Bamboo is known for its sustainable qualities and flexibility as a building material. Its natural aesthetic creates a soothing and inviting atmosphere within the building. This contrast between the exterior and interior materials enhances the overall design concept, fostering a harmonious transition from the conversational outer shell to the soft, welcoming heart of the building. Overall, the material choice of corrugated tin and bamboo serves a practical purpose - shielding from the rain and sun but also contributes to the cultural context and emotional experience of the design. It creates a dialogue between the building, the local community, and the natural environment, resulting in a design that is both functional and evocative.

Has your design been inspired by other projects in developing countries or past projects of Kaira Looro?

We believe that architecture and design is done in continuation of what has been done in the past. First and foremost, we were inspired by the vernacular architecture in rural Senegal with the use of tin and bamboo. In addition, we have looked over past projects that participated in the previous competitions, learning the strengths and reference to the local conditions.

How your idea of architecture can improve education in developing countries, and how the local community concerned could perceive this architecture?

We believe that our design can give a new perspective on the organization of schools and the way in which it is possible to solve problems of the entry of filtered natural light or passive cooling of the building without additional systems. We hope that the locals will look at the building as something familiar in the landscape that uses accessible building materials familiar to the residents but at the same time offers a restructuring of the school and a variety of uses for the different spaces while creating a quality space for the community and the students.

From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of architects in dealing with complex issues such as children rights or architectures in developing countries?

In our perspective, architects have a significant and pivotal role in addressing complex issues like children’s rights and architecture in developing countries. We believe that architects hold a crucial position in our current era and should uphold their honour and influence within the cultural sphere. Considering the fast-paced and stimulating nature of life in developing countries, we believe that architecture should not attempt to match this rapid pace or provide an overwhelming amount of stimuli. Instead, we view the role of architecture in these contexts as one that encourages moments of pause, wonder, and contemplation amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. Architects bear the responsibility of creating spaces that promote reflection, inspiration, and holistic well-being. This involves designing environments that are sensitive to the needs of children, respect their rights, and provide spaces that support their growth and development. Furthermore, architects must also approach the challenges of developing countries with a deep understanding of the local context, culture, and socioeconomic factors. It is essential to engage in meaningful dialogue with the communities, involving them in the design process and empowering them to have a voice in shaping their built environment. By embracing these responsibilities, architects can play a vital role in creating sustainable, inclusive, and nurturing spaces that positively impact the lives of children and contribute to the overall development of communities.

The aim of the competition was also to improve the research on the topics of sustainable architecture with natural and recycled materials. How do you feel that contemporary architecture is approaching these topics?

We believe that contemporary architecture is increasingly embracing the importance of sustainable practices and the use of natural and recycled materials. There is a growing recognition of the urgent need to address environmental concerns and reduce the ecological footprint of buildings. Architects are actively exploring innovative ways to integrate sustainable design principles into their projects. They are incorporating renewable energy systems, optimizing energy efficiency, and implementing strategies for waste reduction and recycling. Moreover, there is a greater emphasis on utilizing locally sourced materials, which not only reduces transportation impacts but also promotes regional craftsmanship and cultural identity. While contemporary architecture is making significant strides in sustainable design, there is still much room for improvement and further innovation. It is crucial for architects, designers, and researchers to continue pushing the boundaries of sustainable architecture, fostering collaboration, and sharing knowledge to create a more resilient and environmentally conscious built environment.

The competition registration fee was devolved to the non-profit organization Balouo Salo that helps people in disadvantage area of Senegal. How has it affected you approach to the competition?

It instilled in us a deep sense of purpose, knowing that our contribution would directly benefit the local community. This awareness guided our design process, prioritizing the well-being of those who would use the school and emphasizing the importance of human connection. It reinforced our belief that architecture is ultimately about serving people, and it inspired us to create a design that fosters inclusivity and positive learning environments. Supporting Balouo Salo through the registration fee aligned with our values and reminded us of the responsibility we have as architects and as human beings to uplift and empower communities.

Your prize is an internship at EMBT one of the most prestigious architecture studios around the world. Can you express your feelings about it?

We are absolutely thrilled and honoured to have been awarded an internship at EMBT. This opportunity represents a significant milestone in our journey as ambitious architecture students. To have the chance to learn and collaborate with such a renowned and visionary firm is an opportunity that we are looking forward to. The prospect of working alongside talented professionals at EMBT fills us with a sense of excitement and eagerness to expand our knowledge and skills. We anticipate gaining invaluable hands-on experience, witnessing the inner workings of a prestigious studio, and immersing ourselves in their design philosophy and approach. We understand the immense value of this internship in terms of professional growth and development. The chance to contribute to real-world projects under the guidance of experienced mentors is a privilege we deeply appreciate.

The aim of the competition is also to give professional opportunities to young architects with internship prize and visibility at international level, and we wish your team the best achievements for your career. How do you think you will be in next 10 years? According to you, can this award affect your future?

We firmly believe that this recognition will have a profound impact on our future endeavors. Looking ahead, we aspire to shape both public and private spaces in a manner that positively impacts the lives of individuals and communities. Over the course of the next ten years, we are eager to embrace new challenges, seize opportunities for growth, and make meaningful contributions to the field of architecture. We are grateful for the professional opportunities and visibility this award provides, and we are motivated to strive for even greater achievements in our careers.

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