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10 Schools, 1,000 Lives
 - The Concept
 - The Design
- The Materials
 - Our Schools
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10 Schools, 1,000 Lives!

Our goal is to create a comfortable learning environment with locally sourced materials and labor. While not all materials can be locally sourced, we critically examine the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the building materials we use.

We work with small communities to build simple, yet aesthetically pleasing and enduring schools for rural villages. With a little of our money, our brick machine, and our earth block building technique, a local community can build its own school using their own soil and labor.

Our school designs integrate local aesthetics, architecture, and ecology, Our designs embody sustainability principles in terms of people, community, culture, nature, and building materials. Our lead designer, Drew Jacoby inspires us to explore innovative design ideas and unconventional concepts that promote our values.

Construction Elements

Basic structure for the earth block school: rubble trench + poured grade beam + courses of bricks + poured bond beam + ceiling/roof.

The compressed earth blocks we make actually insulate the classroom from the intense sun and heat that can fatigue even the most energetic students and teachers. Additionally, the design incorporates tall walls with passive ventilation to help circulate air and expel heat. There is one double door and five windows for each classroom. The windows and doors are fabricated steel (produced to specifications, in Bamako, Mali).

Our classrooms have poured cement floors, and we are exploring possible alternatives for future schools. The roof is constructed with steel beams and corrugated tin, We are considering several strategies to use our earth block as roofing material (as a series of segmented arches or flat panels. The roof sits on a continuous rectangular cement bond beam atop the classroom walls (between the wall and the roof).

Once students begin attending their schools, African Sky will partner with students and teachers to create a school garden and tree nursery (mango, citrus, moringa). The roof design catches rain, which is easily collected for gardening and cleaning. US sister schools will work with African Sky to incorporate playground and sporting features such as soccer goals and nets, tetherball, and volleyball.

In compliance with general standards for classroom size (in both Mali and US), our floor plan creates 60m2+ classrooms for up to 35 students (only 30 students for 5th and 6th grades). The classrooms each open up onto a common slightly enclosed walkway/porch.