Maggie Grout, founder of the nonprofit association Thinking Huts, means to meet the needs of more than 1.2 billion young people displaced around the world as a result of COVID-19, and more than 260 million children who can’t go to school. She founded her organisation to help underprivileged areas, and now plans to construct schools from 3-D printed material.

Socially conscious technology developed by Hyperion Robotics, lies as the focus of the technique. Grout partnered with San Francisco design firm Studio Mortazavi (founded by Amir Mortazavi) to plan the globe’s inaugural 3-D printed school built on four acres of land off the African coast, on Madagascar. While 3-D printing technology has been applied to many recent projects such as cars and building design, this will be the inaugural full-scale school built using this method.

Mortazavi states that the pilot school will be constructed on the university campus of Ecole de Management et d’Innovation Technologique (EMIT), based in Fianarantsoa, and will serve regional Malagasy students. A school serving students preschool through high school, with separate structures for science, libraries, physical education, music and arts classes, and computer labs. Houses for teachers and pupils will be part of the plan.

The basic design includes a beehive formation that permits the interconnection of many schools, and includes vertical farms and solar panels. The pilot school will feature a hybrid design including 3-D printed walls and regionally sourced building materials for the roof, door, etc. “Pockets” lining the pod walls permit for vertical farms as well as climbing walls for kids.

Mortazavi had not considered COVID-19 restrictions for the school design, as by the time of the school’s launch in summer 2021–22 (December to March in Madagascar), he believes that everyone will be vaccinated. If not, pupils will wear masks, and plexi partitions will be attached to desks. Another asset will be the project’s cool climate and refreshed air.

The largest obstacles will include constraints on 3-D printing technology. Yet the site’s architectural relief pattern, and ventilation blocks, will be fabricated by the printer. Project coordinators have created a traditional Malagasy tribal pattern bearing a repetitive stamp on both the inside and outside of the building being tested.

The majority of 3-D printed objects will shine forth with a light gray tone as a base color, says Mortazavi, to align the structures with their natural rocky, earthen habitat.

A pair of two-inch-thick walls was placed 8–14 inches apart to allow the outer shell some fluid movement, and encompassing a spider web–like structure that allows for utility connection.

The radiance of 3-D printed walls will be conveyed in thick curves and smooth relief patterns. Mortazavi also wants to furnish the interiors attractively, cooperating with regional craftspeople to produce furnishings with sustainably harvested wood from Madagascar.

Thinking Huts hopes that the school will itself be an education in innovation—one we hopefully will see on Australian shores sometime in the near future.

Source: Architectural Digest