• School Brousse-Besely/ Jean-Paul Viguier & Associates

Architects: Jean-Paul Viguier & Associates  
Location: Besely, Mahajanga,  Madagascar
Project Team: Unibail-Rodamco, Eiffage Ile-de-France Construction Ile de France and Jean-Paul Viguier & Associates, World Schools and Children of Mahajanga
Project Year: 2014
Photographer: Jean-Paul Viguier & Associates

Owners and Sponsors Associates: Unibail-Rodamco, Eiffage Ile-de-France Construction Ile de France 
Local Architect: JL Rostaing - School Animations 
Project area: 150 m² 

When Jean-Paul Viguier et Associés, Unibail-Rodamco and Eiffage Construction were designing the new generation Majunga Tower in La Défense, Madagascar they committed to support the associations Schools of the World and Children World to construct a school in Besely, Madagascar, a bush village of 543,000 inhabitants located in the Mahajanga region of northwestern Madagascar.

The construction of the school of Besely helps slow migration, prevent children walk several kilometers to go to class and empowers the villagers by giving them the opportunity to win their independence, brick by brick.

The school of Besely includes: 2 classes up to 45 students each, 1 office for teachers, 1 infirmary, 1 office, 1 local reserve, 1 sanitary block with 2 showers and 2 toilets, 1 well, 1 raised tank and 2 staff housing for teachers.

The uniqueness of this project is that it uses primarily local and sustainable resources.

  1. Mud brick made from earth clay was available locally. The provision of a brick press by Schools of the World allowed the inhabitants to manufacture the mud bricks.  Approximately 25,000 bricks were needed to build the school. 
  2. The foundations are built of stone with lime plaster. The lime plaster waterproofs the building which is placed on a concrete base to prevent water from reaching the walls.

The school of Besely was designed to limit reduction of forests or the use of rare materials (wood), flammable (coconut leaves) or too expensive materials. The team of architects and structural engineers therefore favored unbaked clay bricks, a raw material used for millennia. This choice has two advantages:

  1. It exploits local resources available in large quantities
  2. It allows people to become self-sufficient by making themselves the bricks

There was also the risk of fire in the dry season which also prohibits the use of flammable construction materials. The exclusive use of mud bricks, the construction costs was minimized. Although this technique induced investment in higher labor, the system allowed the inhabitants of the region to become self-sufficient in construction. 

During the rainy seasons, strong winds accompanying rain and cyclonic tornadoes are common while in contrast, during the dry season, sunlight causes a stifling heat. 
An optimized wall ventilation system, plants to shade the school and concealable openings in storm have been designed to address these issues.

The school has that butterfly effect roof which has been designed to facilitate the flow of water.

The project reminds us that education is one of Madagascar's priorities. By helping to stem the rural exodus, it contributes to the renewal of the Mahajanga region.

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