Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day: Six

With the mini bus full of gas our travel into the densely lush vegetation began.  Two hours and and a few thousand pot holes later we arrived at the school in Mbagala.  Our interest there was a small school teacher's house constructed by a crew of unskilled workers using the same wall and roof panel system that we discovered three days prior.

The moment we set foot on the school ground we sensed an unbridled energy surging around us. Our presence escalated the energy to a wild fire commotion of hundreds of children.  Like mosquitoes to Matt's tender, lily white legs, they swarmed around us, buzzing in Swahili and staring at the small cluster of mzungu (white guys).  We engaged and entertained them; and they entertained us, but the main goal was checking out the teacher's house and the insulated panel system.  The concrete panels had been plastered over with a brilliant yellow.  A simple rectangular floor plan with a gable roof formed the space, exemplifying the fact that most of the built environment is based on assimilation.  Inside we found a sitting room and kitchen sharing a space, with two bedrooms and a bathroom.  Immediately we were made aware of the lack of comfort with in the house.  The windows were wide open, allowing the hot and humid air to fill the spaces.  The house is used in the same manner as most homes here in Dar es Salaam; opening the interior space to the outside.  This makes us feel there is a fundamental aspect which needs to be brought to every occupant with the SEED

The innovative use of materials calls for innovation in design.  In addition to this, there is an apparent need for education in use of the design.   To use the insulated paneled construction, the user must know the way in which the house functions; namely, closing the house up during the hottest times of the day and venting the house properly during the night and morning hours. Through this basic education, we feel there can be a shift in function of a house, and quality interior conditions of the space for the occupant.  

Structural concrete panel school house in Mbagala

The Teacher
Any Excuse to get out of class
Construction of a landmark

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