Upliftment is not a linear process, and neither is maintaining its momentum. Achievable and sustained progress relies on iterations, cumulative improvement and cultivating hope for a better future.
With the majority of Mozambique’s young women lacking a mediator between educational empowerment and existing traditional responsibilities; the Kurandza Learning Centre serves not only as a beacon of hope for the girls entering its grounds, but as a catalyst for growth and overall community upliftment.
A humble material palette of locally sourced clay brick pods on raised concrete platforms, woven reed ceilings, and thatched roofs supported on a framework of gum poles creates a familiar and unimposing interface between the centre and its surrounding context.
The use of local materials and building technologies not only promotes the feasibility of the scheme, but also encourages the possibility of potential expansion and capacity growth.
The theme of circular resource management is already prevalent in the centre’s approach to self-sustenance. A generous array of thatched roofs ensures suitable surface area for water catchment and solar panels that will be used to run the centre.
Informed by an overlapping arrangement of concentric circle motifs, the complex unfolds as a series of radiating spaces anchored around three programmatic nodes: Growth, Gathering and Education. This parallels the layering of social exchange from public, to semi-public to private – placing the safety and well-being of the girls at the forefront of the architectural response.
Visual and physical queues of organics walls, brick screens and stepped seating platforms define and guide the movement and pooling of people in and around each of these three nodes.
Centred around the Growth node, a permaculture garden radiates from the start of a ‘stick forest’ of planted posts – symbolically placed in the ground by the girls themselves as a symbol of their permanence and place within the centre and society. This semi-enclosed area serves as a playground, practical learning space and food source for the adjacent kitchen and serving area.
The Multipurpose room forms the centre of the Gathering node, providing a platform for engagement, facilitating idea exchange and hosting community events.
Finally, an array of semi-flexible classroom spaces, libraries, counselling rooms and childcare facilities radiate around the grand Marula tree – articulating a semi-covered courtyard dappled in natural light and supportive interaction. – a safe space to learn, play, heal and hope.