Where Rwandan soil rises to meet the sky, divine light bridges the gap between heaven and earth and all come together as one.
The chapel of the Crossing marks the meeting of God and mortal. Tutsi and Hutu; local and travel; all gathering together to celebrate the glory of the divine.
Rising Sun Secondary School
Complete - Competition
Rising Sun aims to improve the livelihood of Benga’s students through an enhanced education program facilitated by warm, inviting architecture worthy of the school’s place in the warm heart of Africa.
Inspired by the rising sun motif on the country’s flag – poignantly representing Malawi’s dawn of hope and freedom – the central design strategy poses a semi-circular array of classrooms and staffrooms lining a large central courtyard; sheltered by a monumental east–west axis comprising the larger multi-purpose space and library. By flipping the sun array to the south of this axis the taller rectilinear structure is able to shelter the courtyard and adjacent rooms.
Initially inspired by the patterns of local woven mats, the undulating wall motif shaping the class and staff rooms quickly progressed to an exploration of economically efficient construction with learning-enhanced spatial qualities. Not only does the undulating form prove to require less wall length than comparative rectilinear rooms, the round space created lends itself to semi-circular classroom layouts – which have been proven to increase student engagement during lessons.
Local clay brick construction lends itself well to the undulating wall design: by simple variation in the spacing of the common brick bond, the wall seamlessly evolves from solid brick between rooms into open screens across the exterior; opening each space to filtered light and ventilation. The brick screen motif continues into the rectilinear axis: screens between columns permit fragmented light along the harsher north-west facing walls, whilst an undulating internal screen shapes intimate and social study alcoves between library hall and computer lab.
1 | Malawi's FLAG - RISING SUN MOTIF
2 | UNDULATING WALL - WOVEN SPACE
3 | ENHANCED LEARNING - SEMI-CIRCLE CLASSROOM LAYOUT
4 | FORMING COURTYARDS AROUND SITE TREES
5 | SEMI-CIRCLE ARRAY FRAMING COURTYARD
6 | MORE EFFECTIVE MATERIAL USE
7 | OCCUPATION OF SITE
8 | SPATIAL ARRAY - STUDENT SPACES FACE COURTYARD; STAFF SPACES FACE STREET