Architect Patricia Erimescu jumped a few logistical hurdles to design a children’s library in Tanzania. Erimescu, who bridges architecture with humanitarianism, worked with non-governmental organization Excel Education Foundation, which provides educational support to impoverished children in Tanzania. The library brings books to a place where very few homes have them. By using volunteers from the community, local clay, rammed earth, and a dash of concrete for rainwater protection, Erimescu built the Njoro Children’s Library, a building that is off the grid, passively cools itself and has a price tag of about $5,400, according to a figure she quoted designboom.
Picturesque, the library sits at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Erimescu threw in some other artful design choices; the library references both Masai houses (homes of the local ethnic group) and the golden ratio.
The library serves about 408 children from the local primary school as well as students from three other schools in the surrounding area. She states that construction at the library involved children, parents, teachers and both local and international volunteers to help break a cycle of poverty and increase living standards for people in the region. You can see some of this education taking place in the form of architectural training in the video linked to this post.
As an off-the-grid building, the library was made without use of electricity. The bricks you’re seeing were made on-site, with local baked clay and rammed earth. You can watch these being pressed by a worker with a hand-cranked machine in the above video. A little concrete was added to make the bricks waterproof. Temperatures in the region can become extremely hot, so it was important that the building could passively cool itself. Builders shaded the library with tall trees. The V-shape of the bricks allow for both natural lighting and for air to move freely through the building. The roof was designed to cross-ventilate the library.
What do you think of this contemporary brick architecture? let us know in the comments.