One problem with cooperation projects in underdeveloped areas is that design strategies – and also the social and ideological premises that determine them – tend to seem strange to the communities which the buildings are ultimately supposed to serve. With this as premise, in formulating a response to the specific needs of a theoretically remote community, the Turkana, a collective of MIT students named Unmaterial Studio set out to shed as many of their western biases as they possibly could. The Turkana people are a large group, with close to a million members populating northwest Kenya, and to a great extent their semi-nomadic ancestral culture based on livestock grazing is intact. Their traditional constructions are tents, temporary shelters, and so it is that this modest vaccination and education center takes on the form of a lightweight and potentially collapsible construction whose basic fuction is to give shade. The key features are the roof, made of a very light structure of steel supports planted directly on the unpaved ground, and a skin of warped metal sheets. In some parts, these sheets cover the side most exposed to the dominant winds of the region, while in others they overlap each other to create a ventilation chamber that helps to dissipate in a passive way the strong solar radiation so typical of the tropics...
Centro educativo Konokono, Kenia Konokono Education Center, Kenya.
Unmaterial Studio (Selgascano and MIT students).