top of page

Lake Bunyonyi Vocational Secondary School

Location

Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

Architect

Fielden Foundation / FCBStudios

Client

Lake Bunyonyi Christian Community Vocational Secondary School (LBCCVSS)

Consultant

Happold Trust (Buro Happold) 

Fielden Fowles

Carpenter Oak

Cost

2008-2010 Phase 1 $30000

2010-2011 Phase 2 $35000

2013 Dormitory Phase 1 $ 50000

2016 Dormitory Phase 2 $13500

Year

2018-present

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.

General Arrangement

General Arrangement

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.

Participatory Process

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.

Collective Visioning

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.

Participatory Design

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.

Capacity Building

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.

Empowerment

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.

Participatory Process
Immersion in Context
Collective Visioning
Participatory Design
Capacity Building
Empowerment

Sustainable Materials

Timber Frame

The Dining Hall superstructure is formed by 12 timber columns rising off galvalised steel baseplates with 12 large rafters supported at one end by a column and the other by resting "reciprocally" on it's neighbouring rafter. This simple frame design creates a column-free internal space of over 10m in diameter. All timber was locally sourced from a small nearby eucalyptus forest.

Reinforced Concrete Structure

The two-storey Boys' Dormitory block is constructed from a heavily reinforced concrete frame to mitigate potential disaster arising from seismic activity. In order to reduce the amount of concrete required, bricks were inlayed into the first floor formwork to create an efficient cross section.

Participatory Design

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.

Fired Brick Walls

Bricks were moulded from good quality clay and dried in the sun before being stacked up into giant furnaces and fired for over 24 hours. This process utilises local material and injects money into the local economy. However, it also requires timber for fuel, which contributes toward deforestation, and can result in significant wastage as bricks are not fired consistently.

Sustainable Materials
Fired Brick Walls

Natural Daylight

Even Distribution

Large windows are uniformly spaced on both sides of the classroom to allow for an even distribution of daylight.

Daylight Control

There is no glazing to minimise cost and potential maintenance expense, with windows instead being fitted with wooden shutters that can be open or closed to control the quantity of daylight.

Natural Daylight