Iranian architect designs sustainable school for Mozambique

According to Iranian architect, Habibeh Madjdabadi, sustainability in architecture is often reduced to buildings that are technically environmentally conscious, but architecturally irrelevant. Having recently released an education project planned for Mozambique, Madjdabadi has offered a resolution of sorts, which aims to better integrate sustainability measures into the main architectural concept.

With an intelligent bamboo roof that collects rainwater and converts solar light into electricity, the school's concept first and foremost responds to the region's harsh environmental conditions, which the architect approached as opportunities for creating a "new architecture with respect to the local traditions". Heavy rainfalls, floods, shortage of clean water and lack of electricity were translated into integrated architectural solutions that aim to embrace technological and aesthetic aspects simultaneously.

"The multilayer water-collecting roof is an architectural landmark," said Madjdabadi. "And it defines the aesthetic character of the school."

Composed of modular basket-shape structures that collect rain water, as well as solar panels and thermal collectors, the roof features a bamboo body that is internally covered with a water-resistant resin that was locally sourced. The collected water is then directed through pipes located under the baskets into a reservoir tank, and, finally, to a septic tank. After filtering and purifying, the water is then pumped to the necessary areas, such as the washrooms and an infirmary kitchen.

Beneath its roof, classrooms, study areas and other functional spaces are separated by masonry walls. Open spaces between them allow air to flow through, maintaining cool temperatures and low humidity levels.

"The building respects the morphology of the land and preserves the existing trees," added Madjdabadi, who noted that the school will be constructed using local materials and labor. "The local Marula tree is preserved and highlights the main entrance of the school."