The restoration project for the existing classrooms of the Wadi Abu Hindi School has been successfully completed using a modified rammed earth wall technique that provides interior insulation, bamboo panels for external shading of the façade and adaption of the roof for better lighting and natural ventilation. The project has now continued with the construction of two additional classrooms and restoration of the playground area.
Cool school through adaptation
The first phase of the restoration project was completed by September 2012 through adding an interior insulation layer to the original sheets of galvanized iron. The insulation is constructed using a multilayer rammed earth wall made of straw and mud that is added to the inside of the existing external metal wall. The insulation is then finished with a layer of plaster, significantly improving insulation from summer temperatures over 40°C and freezing winters.
The refurbishment also replaced dilapidated shutters with new metal sun-blinds that take design inspiration from the wooden lattice work of the Arabian mashrabiya. This approach, including shading panels of bamboo and transformation of the roof to allow better lighting and natural ventilation, will be continued in the remaining buildings of the school. Currently, further rehabilitation of classrooms and an administration room and library continue, thanks to funding by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OHC) of the United Nations.
Further construction under way
The final phase of the project commenced in late 2012 and will improve playground areas and include the construction of two additional classrooms to supplement the existing nine. This step is part of the cooperation project “Wadi Abu Hindi school low environmental impact rehabilitation”, promoted by the NGO Vento di Terra and funded by UNICEF.
The two new classrooms are perpendicular to the original nine rooms, opening their doors towards the school’s main building and their windows towards the playground and the surrounding countryside. The two classrooms are built with the same low tech self-construction technique of the school refurbishment, thus building a coherent complex. The area facing the new classrooms will host a play-ground equipped with canopy covered and outdoor washbasins system, constructed using material less vulnerable to degradation in the harsh environment. The center section will be allocated to a volleyball/basketball court, leaving an area for additional free play area beyond.
A visionary team of Italian architects from ARCò Architettura e Cooperazione developed a concept for the sustainable refurbishment of an existing school building for a Bedouin community in Palestine. The project team was presented with a Global Holcim Awards 2012 finalist certificate in the framework of a workshop on sustainable construction held at the Politecnico di Milano.
In the regional phase of the Holcim Awards competitions, the project “Sustainable refurbishment of a primary school” received the Silver prize for Africa Middle East and thereby qualified for the global competition. The project upgrades the inadequate existing structure with well-directed and precise low-tech measures to create a functional educational unit that complies with the regulations of the occupation authority. The Abu Hindi Primary School of the Bedouin community is located near Al Azarije (Eizariya), and less than 10km east of Jerusalem.
The certificate handover was part of an open event on sustainable construction attended by university students, architects, NGO representatives, and media. Professor and Dean of the School of Civil Engineering and Architecture of the Politecnico di Milano (Polytechnic University of Milan), Emilio Pizzi, commented on the fruitful relationships with Holcim on sustainability themes, the importance of the Holcim Awards for future’s society, and the social relevance of the project of the ARCò team.
Country Manager of Holcim Italy, Piero Corpina, congratulated the ARCò team, and emphasized the importance of sustainable construction for society – both today and tomorrow. “The simplicity of the underlying concept, its elaboration and realization, and easy transferability make this project a remarkable blueprint that demonstrates that sustainability is much more than technical solutions,” he said.
Architect and member of the team from ARCò, Alessio Battistella, presented the origins, constraints and development of the project – underlining the “inherent complexity of the situation, even before starting the design”. The challenge of this project is to remain effective in a zone of political tension in addition to addressing climatic and local constraints. “Winning the regional Holcim Awards prize allowed ARCò to establish our own studio. At the same time, the recognition reinforced our belief in what we are doing, provided impetus for starting new projects and encouraged us to continue investing time in applied research,” he said.
Manuela Macchi, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Communication at Holcim Italy, introduced the Holcim Awards competition and explained the five “target issues” for sustainable construction that are used by independent panels of experts to evaluate submissions.See more
The projects that received Holcim Awards Gold, Silver, or Bronze in each of the five regions of the world were automatically qualified to compete for the Global Holcim Awards 2012. The more extensive submission on the Sustainable refurbishment of a primary school for the global phase of the competition can be found here:
The Holcim Awards Silver was presented to a school project in Palestine. The refurbishment approach designed by Italian architects ARCò – Architettura e Cooperazione improves natural ventilation and thermal insulation, thus achieving climatic comfort and energy reduction. At the same time, it generates a positive impact on the students of the Bedouin community less than 10km east of Jerusalem.
Traditional mud brick techniques are adapted by local artisans to improve thermal dynamics and reduce dependence on imported building materials. The approach to refurbish an inadequate existing structure uses well-directed and precise low-tech measures to create a functional educational unit, and the simplicity of the underlying concept and easy transferability make the project a remarkable blueprint.Read full media release – Holcim Awards 2011 for Africa Middle East »
The jury appreciated the approach to refurbish an inadequate existing structure and to upgrade it with well-directed and precise low-tech measures to a functional educational unit. Rapid construction over only two months enabled the project to be conducted exclusively during school holidays and confirmed the feasibility of the concept.
Arising from disadvantageous parameters, a number of benefits such as long-term improvement of educational conditions, generation of local labor and know-how as well as a strengthening of social community are achieved, moreover resulting in differentiated and accomplished in- and out-door spaces. The simplicity of the underlying concept, its elaboration and realization, and easy transferability make this project a remarkable blueprint.See more
The challenge of this project is to remain effective in a zone of political tension in addition to addressing climatic and local constraints. The refurbishment of the Abu Hindi Primary School of the Bedouin community is located 5km south-east of Al Azarije (Eizariya), near Ma’ale Adumim and less than 10km east of Jerusalem. The project achieves climatic comfort and energy sustainability by improving natural ventilation and thermal insulation while at the same time generating a positive impact on the students’ perception of their everyday school life.
Traditional mud brick techniques used in other regions of the world are adapted by local artisans in an innovative way, resulting in climate balancing and easily produced building modules. The new sandwich panel roof is tilted and raised to create efficient air circulation and natural daylighting. The use of basic local resources allows an import-independent construction while also reducing energy demands for transportation and production.Download project entry poster (PDF, 1.40 MB) »See more
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