January 28, 2019
Design Inspiration: The Insideout School Prototype Merges the World with Indoor Spaces
contributor: Rob Goodier
An international design team volunteered to build a never-before-seen school to replace the wind-damaged facility in Yeboahkrom, a village in Ghana. Andrea Tabocchini and Francesca Vittorini headed the non-profit project leading volunteers from 20 countries to design and erect the Insideout School. The team kept the cost low, gathering construction materials locally, working with a local crew to build the school in 60 days for €12,000 (USD $13,750).
The site was off the electrical grid, so the team worked with hand tools. They cleared 58,000 kilograms (128,000 pounds) of soil by hand and planed three kilometers (9800 feet) of wood with two manual planers.
“The lack of resources and the site limitations become the opportunity to propose a sustainable design that merges architecture and landscape,” Andrea Tabocchini wrote in a statement about their work.
Compacted earth gathered from the construction site became the primary material for the classrooms’ staggered walls. The roof straddles a lightweight wooden frame fit with slats that provide shaded natural light and airflow. Porches extend into surrounding gardens in a continuity of inside and outside space.
“The result is a work that blurs the boundary between inside and outside, offering an alternative to standard introverted classrooms and proposing an affordable and easily replicable design that values the local know-how and pushes its limits,” Ms. Tabocchini says.
The project has received international awards and recognition from Designboom.
The international team left the building in the community’s hands. In the year since completion, Ms. Tabocchini has not visited the site, but the possibility is not out of the question, she says.
“Doing projects in underserved communities is for us a great human and professional experience, so we do hope to be able to do new projects in developing countries in the future,” Ms. Tabocchini says.
See the school, diagrams and the land it occupies in the gallery below.
Design and Project Leaders
Andrea Tabocchini & Francesca Vittorini
Construction Workshop Leaders and Participants
Andrea Tabocchini, Francesca Vittorini and Lori Zillante (Italy); Adrian Aranda (Cuba), Ali Abidi (Tunisia), Alessia Bernini (Italy), Anastasia Nechalioti (Greece), Aryan Vanaki (Iran), Austin Wyeth (USA), Beatriz Villapecellin (Spain), Caterina Rogani (Italy), Elliot Rawlinson (UK), Emma Barrett (Australia), Jaakko Torvinen (Finland), Katharina Kohlroser (Austria), Laura Conti (Italy), Luis Rubio (Colombia), Marco Pappalardo (Italy), Margherità Memè (Italy), Miia Suomela (Finland), Nadia Avezzano (Italy), Nikolaos Nikolis (Greece), Paulius Kliucininkas (Lithuania), Pin Chih Liao (Taiwan), Po-Min Kung (Taiwan), Riccardo Guerri (Italy), Richard Migisha (Uganda), Sara Signori (Italy), Shih-Kai Lin (Taiwan), Simone Argentesi (Italy), Sofia Toni (Italy), Tarindu Baggya Millawage (Italy | Sri Lanka), Timothy Kölle (Germany), Urszula Bajcer (Polland).
Local Construction Crew
Abass Moahmmed, Abubakar Moahmmed, Afirifah Kwame, Anor Kwaku, Anthony Gbadagao, Anthony Visa, Edward Ampomah, Edward Boadu Twum, Eric Agyeman, Johnson Yeboah, Nimo Collins (Ghana)