THE RING, BY SPOL ARCHITECTS
SPOL Architects is developing and designing a school prototype to be built in Amazonas.
The design focuses on creating a sense of place. An “iconic” communal building with a strong identity, a building focused on creating an inclusive space. A place that triggers interaction and stimulates learning. Focusing on creating a school where the children can learn, play and stay also between and after classes. The circular shape references the building known as “Chapéu de palha”, which is traditionally used for communal buildings in the region.
SPOL developed the design of the school in collaboration with the local community. The process started with workshops with the local children and adults defining they’re needs, desires, dreams and location of the school. Thereafter several design options were developed and evaluated through workshops with NGO, pupils, parents and teachers. Finally one designed was chosen and developed.
The school will be built completely out of locally harvested materials. The community is within a reserve of indigenous protection and as such they have the right to harvest the forest for communal projects like the school. Spol is working with the local craftsmen in developing the construction method of the school and introducing new techniques for preserving the wooden construction.
The school and the construction process are developed together with the local community with the aim to empower and educate the local population in more sustainable construction methods. The construction of the school is a communal project that through its shared effort of construction and development will help to position the school as an anchor in the local community.
BACKGROUND AND INVOLVED PARTIES
SPOL is working with NGO “Casa do Rio”. NGO Casa do Rio is focused on education and women’s opportunities and rights. Before founding the NGO, Thiago Cavalli (founder of NGO “Casa do Rio”) was running a one man educational project on the Tupana river. The focus now is to expand the accessibility and quality of education in the region. The school by SPOL is a pilot project, with the aim to build several schools in the region along the road BR319.
The first school will be built in Igapó-Acu. Igapó-Acu is a small community approximately 270 km south of Manaus by the BR 319. BR319 is an approximately 40 year old road constructed in 1973 to connect Manaus to the rest of Brazil. The road cuts through approximately 870 km of rainforest from Manaus to Porto Velho. Since its construction the road has been left to deterioration and has been largely inaccessible. The national government is currently undertaking a program of reconstructing the road. The road is a two edged sword, in one hand an opportunity for development and economic growth for the local communities and at the same time increases the risk for of the forest.
The local population is living largely on the products they can extract from the forest, either through fishing or farming. The school project aims to educate and empower the local population in defending the forest. Teach methods for farming in harmony with the forest, communal cooperation, reduction and recycling of solid waste and finally a sanitaria project to overcome current and future challenges for pollution of drinking waters and the rivers.
The school project is part of a Permaculture (syntrophy) project, focusing on educating the local population in farming in harmony with the forest with the aim of moving away from slash-and-burn. Traditionally the forest is cut down around the houses and other buildings in the area. The school is placed in the forest and will be integrated in it. The circular design of the school encapsulates a central “garden”. From here the children and adult community will receive information about and develop projects for sustainable permaculture. The school further contains a space dedicated to the production of local foods, art, tools, organic make up etc, in which the women in the area will be encourage and supported in producing and selling local products to give them independence.
Casa do Rio and SPOL is collaborating with educational experts in bring contemporary learning methods into the school and the area. Educational researchers Claudio Bueno and Tainá Azeredo are working with Spol in the design of the space of the school and the teachers in the implementation of the programs.
The children of Igapo-Açu
In the forest along BR-319
Forest area with dry grounds
Adam Kurdahl, Jens Noach, Natállia Shiroma, Davi Duwe, Julio Eiji, Gonçalo Henriques, Thiago Azambuja, Dionéia Ferreira, Frederico Filippi, Claudio Bueno, Tainá Azeredo
Ycon Engenharia, Yopanan