Menea Developed School project
We were looking for a design that can fulfill our requirements and at the same time make an attractive school to students and the staff.
The design of our school solves the problem of a complicated program and provides an easy to understand and functional school campus. We think that the design of our school will provide a user friendly school campus. The design provides facilities for modern and traditional teaching methods. It enhances self education, group activities and projects. The design also facilitates information and knowledge transfer.
We hope that this design can be implemented in the near future. We are waiting for the opportunity to implement many of the new ideas offered in this design.
What exemplary ideas do the designs contain that enhance learning?
According to Egyptian standards the site of this school is considered a large K-12 school. The site is to house 1100 students including educational and sport facilities. The school is located in a newly developed residential area in Menea city, Upper Egypt. Two major requirements were set by the ministry for this project. First: a school design, up to date with international developments in teaching methods, to be used as a model for modern government schools in Egypt. Second: to service the surrounding community.
What innovations in the planning, programming and design process supported the realization of those exemplary ideas?
The following are design themes implemented to fulfill these requirements:
1-The school as a small city:
This large elongated site is planned as a small learning city. This school city is divided into neighborhoods (learning zones), downtown (administration, library, multipurpose hall, dining hall, gymnasium), and plazas and park (school plaza, playgrounds and sport fields). A learning street crossing the whole site links the different learning zones, educational and sport facilities. The learning street divides the site into learning zones occupying the north side and shared multiuse facilities on the south side.
2- Learning zones:
To reduce the scale of the project, the K-12 program is divided into 5 learning zones (K.G, primary 1, primary 2, elementary, secondary). Each zone is housed in a separate three story building with its entrance, classrooms, staffrooms, shared multiuse classroom, green courtyard, toilets, and internal staircase. The small scale of learning zones buildings creates the human scale of the school, and makes a natural transition from home to school, especially for young students newly joining school.
3-The learning street:
An architectural element which connects the different buildings and functions of the school campus. Its distinct color and height creates a land mark, and helps in orientation within the campus.
Learning zones, laboratories, lecture halls, cafeteria, dining hall, administration, gymnasium, sport fields and playgrounds, all have visual and physical access to the learning street. This otherwise long dull corridor is transferred into an active space enhancing social and learning activities, turning it to a focal point of the school campus.
The learning street is mainly covered and planted with large palm trees (indigenous to the region) protecting it from direct sun.
4- The school as a community center:
The program requires some school facilities to be open for the use of the community, enhancing the link between both. All school shared facilities (library, dining hall, multipurpose hall, and gymnasium) are grouped in the south part of the site around the main school plaza with direct access from the street, These facilities can be used by the community all year round. The sport fields and the gymnasium together with the kindergarten building are added to this part of the site allowing extra facilities for the community.
5-School building adapted to technology:
With the fast developing technology and its effect on education and information exchange, we tried to apply up to date technology and its relation to modern learning trends.
All buildings in the school campus are linked by a network allowing ease of information transfer. Computers and internet connections are provided in many locations within the school, including classrooms, libraries, labs, multipurpose halls and cafeterias. Video conference facilities are provided in multiuse facilities and hall, allowing connection and interaction with educational institutions around the world. Educational satellites connection are provided to allow gathering of documentary and scientific programs and reused for the educational purposes.
The school campus is located in a hot, arid, dusty climate. This project is designed to provide a comfortable learning environment with minimum artificial lighting and air-conditioning. The following architectural features were used:
+North oriented classrooms for maximum indirect sun light, and to catch north prevailing cool wind.
+Green shaded courtyards create natural air movement through learning zones.
+Shaded and planted learning street provides cool shaded circulation.
+Natural air movement is created through the difference in temperature between sunny and shaded spaces.
7- School tower
A clock tower acts as the major landmark of the school campus sky line. The tower which rises high above the three story building acts as an internal and external orientation element, holds the national flag, the main staircase, and houses the satellite dishes for the educational program broadcasting.