An Indigenous Structure that Inspires Effective Learning

Creating the Right Environment for Kids to Learn


Children are most impressionable and their mind and psychological make-up are so fragile that the environment we put them in should always promote well-being and a sense of security.  Like the rural schoolhouse designed and constructed by the Ecuador-based group of architects, Al-Borde, familiar indigenous materials were used and the layout and shape of the structure were also strategically familiar to the kids.  Using mostly timber, the construction called for basic construction methods like wooden post and beam to build up the structure, and wooden rafters and joists to create the roof.  Ties made of hemp and other plant-based sources were used to secure or attach timber structural parts.  And simple joints and lapping techniques were employed to assemble wood or timber members.  Now let’s take a closer look at these photos and see how they did it.  Then tell us what you think on our Facebook Page!


The project uses the same materials and building patterns the community has been using for years.  A timber basis above the foundation piles, bamboo walls, wood structure and a roof made of knitted straw scarf or “cade.”  The difference lies in the conception and conceptualization of the space.  A place that encourages learning through action.


The space is generous in every way, which is why the kids feel freer finding each one their own place to develop their activities.  The model and the structure transmit a freshness and imaginative environment that has favored the development of artistic and academic activities.


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The structural parts of the school house were erected using timber.  The next step was to install lightweight finishing materials for the floor, walls, ceiling and roof.


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The school house now fully constructed and ready for use.


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The wooden rafters were set at a steep angle not only to create a more spacious interior but to efficiently  conduct rainwater down to the ground.  The triangular configuration of the roof supports is also more stable because force is evenly distributed from its vertex to the base of each side of the triangle.  Smaller or thinner wood members were placed closer to each other and run perpendicular to the main roof support or rafters.  The thinner pieces of wood also provide additional bracing to the rafters.  The final roofing material would be knitted straw from plants.


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It’s a community project where the locals provide labor and expertise.


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The floor finish has been put in place and the wall coverings are being placed.  The bamboo materials were locally sourced and have been utilized for years in constructing other indigenous shelters or buildings in the area.


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Timber structural parts were secured by ropes from natural sources such as plants or tree barks that grow locally.


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Wood members are strengthened and secured by working on the wood to create strong joints like mortise and tenon, lap or dovetail joints, to name a few.


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With the cooperation of the community a simple wood structure can be erected in a short period of time and then be ready for use.



Now tell us what you think by joining the discussion on our Facebook Page!


Next Up:  Complimenting the Rural Area



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