Lake Bunyonyi Vocational Secondary School
Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda
Fielden Foundation / FCBStudios
Lake Bunyonyi Christian Community Vocational Secondary School (LBCCVSS)
Happold Trust (Buro Happold)
2008-2010 Phase 1 $30000
2010-2011 Phase 2 $35000
2013 Dormitory Phase 1 $ 50000
2016 Dormitory Phase 2 $13500
Lake Bunyonyi Secondary School is a vocational boarding school, where education is regarded as a holistic process. The school occupies a steeply sloping site on the edge of Lake Bunyonyi, near Kabale in SouthWest Uganda. The Fielden Foundation has been working with LBVSS for over a decade to develop it from a single classroom in 2007 to a school for more than 300 children today.
The principle challenge on the site is the lack of flat land on which to build classrooms and the need to create retaining walls and pathways up and down the site that are not subject to erosion. Every new building is equipped with rainwater collection tanks to help reduce runoff and provide a useful water supply for washing and cooking. The Fielden Foundation has also focussed on developing the sustainability of the school from a financial and pedagogical perspective by improving the accounting and investment in agriculture.
Buildings constructed over a series of phases stretch out along the contours, connected by a network of decorative stairs and pathways. A significant circular structure is the focus of the campus, which houses the dining area and school communal activities. A kitchen, with enhanced ventilation, is built adjacent to it. The most recent building project, completed in 2017, is a two storey dormitory and classroom block.
Immersion in Context
The Fielden Foundation approach was to look, listen, and learn, and to avoid pre-conceived ideas. Teachers were asked to show the architects around the school and explain what everything was, the problems and their future ideas. Pupils were asked to draw maps of the school, which were not accurate but helped to understand their interests and priorities.
Workshops were held with teachers, pupils, local leaders and parents, to discuss the school's immediate needs and their aspirations for the future. The teachers drew up an action plan of short, medium and long term goals.
The school was involved in the design of every phase of the project. The Boys' Dormitory was intended by the designers to be a one-storey building, but increased to two-storeys because of the aspirations of the school director.
Pupils were taught how to survey and use a theodolite, which was later donated to the school. Vocational pupils were involved in the construction as part of their studies. Students worked closely alongside masons and skilled carpenters from Carpenter Oak, while Buro Happold employed and trained two site foremen to oversee the project.
Pupils were given a timber step each to paint as an art project. This has created a beautiful and colourful staircase, and increased the pupils pride and enthusiasm for their school.