The library of Muyinga BC architects



BC architects:

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The first library of Muyinga, part of a future inclusive school for deaf children, in locally sourced compressed earth blocks, built with a participatory approach.Our work in Africa started within the framework of BC was asked to scale the “Open structures” model to an architectural level. A construction process involving end-users and second-hand economies was conceived. Product life cycles, water resource cycles en energy cycles were connected to this construction process. This OpenStructures architectural model was called Case Study (CS) 1: Katanga, Congo. It was theoretical, and fully research-based. 5 years later, the library of Muyinga in Burundi nears completion.

Vernacular inspirations
A thorough study of vernacular architectural practices in Burundi was the basis of the design of the building. Two months of fieldwork in the region and surrounding provinces gave us insight in the local materials, techniques and building typologies. These findings were applied, updated, reinterpreted and framed within the local know-how and traditions of Muyinga.
A very important element in Burundian (and, generally, African) architecture is the very present demarcation of property lines. It is a tradition that goes back to tribal practices of compounding family settlements. For the library of Muyinga, the compound wall was considered in a co-design process with the community and the local NGO. The wall facilitates the terracing of the slope as a retaining wall in dry stone technique, low on the squares and playground of the school side, high on the street side. Thus, the view towards the valley is uncompromised, while safety from the street side is guaranteed. The future school will continue to swing intelligently through the landscape of the site, creating playgrounds and courtyards to accomodate existing slopes and trees. In the meanwhile, the library will work as an autonomous building with a finished design.

Studio: BC architects

Project name: Library for the community of Muyinga


Location: Muyinga (BU)

Client: ODEDIM

Local material consultancy: BC studies

Community participation and organisation: BC studies and ODEDIM Muyinga

Cooperation: ODEDIM Muyinga NGO, Satimo vzw, Sint-Lucas Architecture University, Sarolta HA?ttl, Sebastiaan De Beir, Hanne Eckelmans

Financial support: Satimo vzw, Rotary Aalst, Zonta Brugge, Province of West-Flanders

Budget: 40 000

Surface: 140m2

Image credits Courtesy of: BC architects and studies


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