Architecture Educational Award

Young Visionary Architecture Competition 2023 - Winners


Abdallah Kamel | Egypt

Project Title: ON THE CLOUD NINE
Project Typology: Primary School

Project Description

The primary education system in Egypt is recognized as one of the largest in the region.
Egypt’s primary schools approximately have 14.4 million students accounting a percentage
of 54.7% out of all stages.
Egypt Vision 2030 has set a target to improve Egypt’s ranking in the Global Competitiveness
Index’s Quality of primary education from 141 In 2016 To 30 by 2030. It’s important to note
that the concept of education quality relies on a heterogenous factors including teaching
methods, learning materials, human resources, among others. However, the crucial tackle
that influences the overall educational quality that provides a healthy environment for the
learning process is the schools typologies and configuration.
Schools in Egypt exhibit various architecture configurations which impact the whole
learning process quality. Minor configuration for layouts is ‘’clustered and central around
court’’ typologies, while the major configuration for the school’s layout adopts linear-Single
loaded & double loaded- plans. Furthermore, the prevalence of applying linear layout
typology with standardized classrooms for most of Egyptian schools is not mimicking the
children’s motivation to engage and interact with the environment.
Children have more pleasure in construction and organization of the spaces rather than
simply using them, they have an active imagination with a very diverse thoughts, that is
leading them to prefer spaces that allow creative expressions kids are not interested in a
specific architecture style nor straight lines, they don’t want to be contained at a subtle
space with a precise measurement, they desire to project their imagination onto the world
Thus, Establishing the children as the centre of the process, steers the design into a dynamic
formation to open the world for the kids to be the place-makers with an active
participation in shaping their environment. Using a various agglomeration, the children can
have their own identification for the spaces, fostering the sense of the ownership and
identity, the fundamental message of the vigorous superimposed configurations, is to
create a fluid natural spatial quality to unleash the traditional school boundaries.
Additionally, Kids are occupying the accessible perimeter of their world, during this period
children learn about valuable social skills, the world around them, they incidentally develop
an inherent ability to explore and learn about themselves. Hence, the school should have
the ability to provide holistic experiences for the kids.
According to president and the prime minster of Egypt, they mentioned that to
accommodate the population growth the government has to establish 60,000 schools a
year, the increase of primary schools’ student is projected by 3.8% in 2022 with 2.5 million
children. As a result, overcrowded classes with approximately 54 students at a single
primary class. It’s important to mention that the vast majority of Egyptian population is less
than 15 years old, accounting with 34.4% of the population which is 36 million Child.
Additionally, 26.8% of the children in Egypt are not enrolled in school, while 7.30% fled after
the enrolment. In addition, the financial difficulties and tight timeframe had pushed the
school’s quality to be at stake and made a significant impact at the quality of the system.
Egypt is misuse 40 million tons of agricultural waste each year. Using recycled Using
recycled agricultural waste as a main material offers several advantages. Firstly, it helps to
lower the construction cost. Secondly, it contributes more sustainable approach.

Additionally, the aim of modulating the schools make the construction process more
efficient and provides a better timeframe. Overall, Incorporation recycled agricultural
waste promotes the environmental consciousness.
The current approach for the Egyptian schools is a linear configuration using concrete as
the primary material to build, the direction for construction is always to build 6 stories
schools which incur higher cost. Additionally, having a plane courtyard that is totally
detached from the building makes a disadvantage for its use and put a limitation on its
usability. It’s worth to mention that vertical schools make the classes disconnected from
any activities at the courtyard. Moreover, the context for most of the schools is not provide
the proper horizon for the students during the day.
With all these insights, the conclusion can be framed as the points:
- Modulating the school structure and spaces by prefabricating its elements with a
recycled agricultural waste as a material can make a cost-effective progress.
- The idea of creating a central courtyard with a dynamic landscape design provide
a vibrant dynamic common area for kids.
- The accessible roofs offer the advantage of adding greenery to provide a healthy
environment, shade, pleasant skyline and a closer connection with nature for
- The classrooms do not follow a unified stereotype that identifies the layout of the
space. Instead, it’s designed with a dynamic configuration that allows children to
organize and occupy as the required use.
- All classrooms feature folding panels that can be stacked to give the classroom a
fully opened side, totally connecting with the courtyard. This detail provides a
movable architecture element that makes the kid interact with the building.
- The dynamic configuration of the agglomeration makes the school more
welcoming, which fostering the connection between the children and the school.
- Incorporating sliders, ramps, climbing edges, treehouses, among other elements,
enhance the overall design. These design elements not only provide functionality
but also create a sense of intimacy feeling and important aspect of belonging.

And so, the underlying layers of the project, Establish the fact that innately children are
place-makers. They possess the ability to conjure places out of their surroundings, they
shouldn’t be moulded. The spatial existence for the kids is to be an active participant,
moving to, owning, occupy.... etc. The inhabitation of a small self-made tent from bed
sheets for a kid made him at his own small microcosm from his creation.
Furthermore, identifying a place for a specific activity by the toddlers whether using a rock,
sign, sticks, or forming a circle or any other action, generates a natural organized chaos.
That is designated for possession evident as seen through the child’s perspective. The
process of place-making for a child, without any architectural sophistications allows him to
experience the design language.
Remarkably, the act of place-making is something we all encountered at some point, we
all experienced to be an architect.

1st runner up

Sakib Nasir Khan – Nazifa Nawar Subha – Jahra Jarin Jemi | Bangladesh

Project Typology: Educational Institution, community development

Project Description

The village of Niandouba and Lela, located in the poverty-stricken Kolda region of South Senegal, West Africa, faces challenges such as a lack of proper infrastructure and limited access to education for its 150-200 children aged 6-12. In response, a primary school has been designed to serve as a landmark and community hub. Rooted in traditional concepts of prosperity, the school is situated between two mango trees, providing shade and featuring north-south oriented classrooms with effective ventilation. 

The school's design consists of three blocks: administration and canteen; a north block for phase-1 children having classrooms and toilets; and south block for phase-2 children along with a lab and mini-vegetable garden. Curved walls, inspired by the village's existing vernacular style, create a harmonious environment. The entrance offers an inviting view of the mango tree and courtyard with bamboo playscapes. 

A central concept is the maintenance of the nutrition cycle. An agora connected to the canteen and lab, along with separate edible gardens for each phase, enables children to learn about crop cultivation, poultry rearing and contribute to their meals. The lab serves as a flexible space for various activities, and the administration block is strategically placed for teacher supervision.  

Community involvement is emphasized through landscape design and walkability, encouraging parents to send their children to school. A community vegetation field allows shared farming, and a flexible area near the sickroom supports skill-developing workshops, training sessions or village meetings after school hours. 

To enhance the school's playfulness, Tire-scapes are introduced as landscaping and playing elements, ensuring playability during the rainy season. A mango forest in the north and covered courtyard in the south block contribute to recreational areas, while the customized furniture serves dual purposes of play and storage. A water reservoir and shallow pond promote rainwater collection and add vitality to the learning environment. 

Material choices prioritize sustainability, utilizing locally sourced materials to integrate the school with its environment. Rammed earth walls, wooden columns, bamboo veils, and repurposed tires demonstrate a commitment to cultural integration and reduced environmental impact.  

The construction process incorporates traditional techniques where the walls are made using a mixture of laterite, gravel, sand, lime, straw, and cow dung. A wooden structure made of rosewood supports the roof, with a focus on modular design for efficient assembly. Considering the pollution created by cement production, we have tried to keep the use of cement as minimal as possible which led to the choice of poured earth as the principal foundation material. The use of bamboo reeds in the roof serves as a second layer of roofing and helps the cooling process. Finally, the project encourages community engagement by involving villagers, especially children, in the tire colouring process, fostering a sense of pride and ownership in the finished structure.  

By incorporating adaptable design, natural materials, and local participation, the project not only creates a functional and harmonious space but also empowers the community and fosters fondness of attending school within the community. 

2nd runner up

Bárbara Vizioli Matos de Andrade | Brazil

Project Title: Senegal’s Primary School
Project Typology: Primary School

Project Description
  1. “It takes an entire village to educate a child, just as it takes a child to educate a village”. Inspired by the profound connection between community and childhood, the primary school's design reflects the belief that education is not just limited to the walls of a classroom, but is enriched by cultural context and social interactions. The project is motivated by the necessity of the exchange between different times: it is impossible to look to the future without embracing the past or to design a child-friendly space without considering the surrounding community. 

    Incorporating the Senegalese oral tradition, the project is based on the idea of ​​community, the educational space is seen as a place of exchange. Thus, the school is conceived as an educational village, reflecting the strong connection of the local community with its cultural roots and traditions. The circle was chosen as the base shape for the project, as it is an organic and symbolically powerful shape, evoking harmony, integration, and unity, in addition to referring to the idea of ​​a cycle, whether related to the different generations that share the community or to the cycles of nature. 

    Recognizing the significance of outdoor space for children's development, the initial concept of a central courtyard emerged. The entire school program revolves around a Baobab tree, a tree of great importance in African culture, whose shadow represents a public space par excellence, even in urban centers. The Baobab symbolizes gathering and exchange, key elements of the project. Under its shade, a grandstand is born, functioning as a multi-purpose space that embraces and hosts cultural and collective activities. This central courtyard becomes the pulsating heart of the project, providing outdoor space for play, group activities, and learning, as well as serving as a space where the community comes together to share knowledge and experiences.

    The functional program is organized circularly around this center, like a nest embracing the existing tree. Classrooms, school refectory, and kitchen, laboratory area, office and administrative spaces, restrooms, storage, and infirmary are distributed in enclosed or semi-enclosed blocks, while a series of qualified multi-purpose spaces such as corridors and courtyards are arranged between these volumes. These spaces are crucial for creating a gradual transition between the open and enclosed, the inside and outside. 

    Education as an active process empowers individuals to transform their environment, creating a new reality together. Therefore, flexible elements were used, adaptable to the needs and interests of the children, with proportions suitable for them to actively participate in the space and contribute to the creation of the school according to their tastes and desires.

    The furniture built with local wood is adaptable to different heights, which allows it to be used by many ages. Its flexibility allows different layouts combinations, so it can be used in various classes dynamics. Its size and weight allows the student themselves to create those different layouts.