The design for the Blikkiesdorp Library uses available resources such as pallets and containers to create an organic pattern that sets itself apart from the grided layout of the township.
The circular enclosure is intended to create a safe area for kids to play, learn and read. The simple layout tries to capture two essence of reading, namely the power of imagination and the power of knowledge.
Starting from the container library, the journey of reading extends into an intimate Reading Garden, and continues along a maze-like route made of hundreds of stacked pallets, leading to a big open space where a Secret Garden full of Trees of Knowledge can be found. The Secret Garden is a community space for kids made up of stacked seatings that can either double as an amphitheater or as a stage for events.
Architecture has always had the ability to shape how we live our lives and our relationship with the surrounding environment. For the residents of Makoko, Lagos in Nigeria, the threat of flooding is a part of their daily existence, with the July 2012 floods in Nigeria killing 363 people and displacing over 2 million residents. Out of this devastation and the subsequent eviction of residents from slums built on the waterfront, a floating school and a floating town is being created in this water community, designed by NLÉ Architects.
The Makoko Floating School: a floating building prototype for African water communities
According to the architects, ‘pioneer sustainable development in coastal African cities’
The Makoko Floating School is built on a flotation platform and is being constructed using local materials. A 3-storey high wooden structure with space for rainwater storage, it also features PV cells and a playground and green area on the ground floor, together with two further classrooms on the first and second floor.
Speaking to architect Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ about the design of the floating school, he said that using floating devices meant they were not relying on the total strength of the soil, as the soil around Makoko is particularly loose. He spoke of the adaptability of the design, as the water level changes frequently in the area so they 'wanted a design that would adapt to the changing conditions' and added that the area has now become a public, communal space with the community interested to see materials that they are familiar with used in a different way.