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(19-20) Future Rural Schools

Docenten: Catherine Mengé, Laurens Bekemans

In a global perspective, around 90% of the world’s population cannot afford an architect, who is trained to design from behind his computer and prescribe mass-produced materials. The pre- industrialized concept of a master-builder might just come back. It reflects the idea of an integral approach to architecture, embedded in local context, local materials and local craftsmanship.
Through contemporary ways of sharing knowledge in between cultures, the master-builder becomes
a ‘common good’ of designing and building, both ‘on site’ and ‘through contemporary digital
media’. This ‘common good’ is materialized in the design studio ‘Future rural schools’, which tries
to explore this integrated approach.
The project site is located in the neighbourhood of Agadir, Morocco.  Within this studio it is the intention to design pre-schools in rural environments based upon bio-climatic principles using local resources, knowledge and techniques. The Commune of Drarga (Morocco) ordered the construction of 5 of such schools in their region. The design of the school will be therefore developed as a prototype school and will function as an example for the development of the 4 other schools.

The studio works with 2 key principles that are connected to sustainable research and design: ‘sense of place’ and ‘materiality’.
On one hand we focus on the sense of a place. We’ll try to understand and work with the specificity of the context. With this knowledge students develop a personal but site-anchored (spatial + socio-cultural) architectural project for the chosen site. Both in terms of functionality and materialization the project is celebrating the place.
On the other hand, we’ll look into the materiality and craftsmanship of architecture. Everything is embedded. The student is challenged to understand in a holistic way the site and develop affinities with local resources, construction techniques, bioclimatic principles and architectural typologies. These explorations will bring students closer to materials and their constructive features. Bridging the existing gap between architectural education and the craftsmanship of architecture.
The aim of the design studio is to develop a vision on schools in rural contexts and a high-quality architectural project until executional level. The students will develop their designs as architectural strategies, giving the possibility to adapt their proposals easily to different topographies, different rural morphologies and technical necessities.
An important exercise is the critical definition of the program :
… in relation to the function to accommodate (to learn to simplify and search for the essence)
… in relation to the contextual characteristics (to see the difference between the relevant and the redundant) (to understand how an area can give content to a program) (to learn how to seek for more value for the environment)
… in relation to the reality of sustainibility (to learn to assess the impact of any intervention)

Read more.

Projects 2019-20

Introduction by Catherine Mengé & Laurens Bekemans The studio assignment ‘Future rural schools’ started with an extensive research of the context in the region of Agadir in Morocco, summarized in an already published ‘research booklet’. The designs for new pre-schools in Tidili and Tamgounsi, made in this studio, are explained in this ‘project booklet’. STUDIO […]


Online exhibition: FACTURE – Curating Craftsmanship 12/05-12-06

FACTURE Curating Craftsmanship Online Exhibition (Tumblr) Online Exhibition (Instagram) #curatingcraftsmanship #goingpublic_kul #onlineexhibition #wetrekkenonsplan #facture #wunderkammer LAUNCH:  Tuesday 12 May 2020 FINISSAGE: Friday 12 June 2020, 5.30 PM Please register on https://facture.eventbrite.nl in order to receive the link for the closing event ‘FACTURE’ ‘Facture’ is the act, process or manner of making. It is used to indicate […]


Projects 2018-19

introduction ‘future rural schools- morocco’ Laurens Bekemans – Catherine Mengé The studio assignment ‘Future rural school’ started with an extensive research about the context in Morocco and is summarized in an already published ‘research booklet’. The designs for the new pre-schools in Sidi Boussehab and Tazentout, made within this studio, will be explained in this […]