Located under the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in the Moshi district of Tanzania, the pre-school for the Jubilant Orphanage presents spatial means for children to nourish their thirst for active learning. The proposal intends to expand the surface to merge with farmlands and let the actions of the farm become activities of play. By doing so, the project anchors its value on the belief that the future lies in self-sustenance.
Africa’s traditional settlements are models of self-sustaining communities, where livelihood is grounded to land and culture. While it is essential for the future generation of African children to learn and adapt to the global world, it is also inevitable to nurture and build on the knowledge and values of their own land to embrace the continuum of self-sustenance. Play is the most integral function of a pre-school, where kids discover their own forms, actions, and activities to be merry. Though simple in outlook, the play could have complex repercussions on the kid’s physical and psychological growth, when not given due attention. The open, unadulterated rural context of Moshi district shares a rich opportunity to make learning an experience unbounded by the limitations of a classroom.
The programs take the form of a boundary wall to create safe, inclusive, well lit, and ventilated spaces. This arrangement forms a central sloping void that blurs with the banana grove. A series of punctures are created in the bounding volume for circulation. The plinth responds to the sloping topography; with a series of stepped terraces that houses flexible classroom activities. The roof remains mundane and is sloping towards the farm. Rainwater is consciously directed towards the farm in the center. The walls are kept as simple extrusions with louvered openings facing the farm/play area. The structure is conceived using interlocking compressed earth blocks along with local hard timber. The project aims at creating a learning environment that embraces the surrounding nature and enriches the early childhood development.