Taking cues from the surrounding plains of Tanouan Ibi, a village adjacent to Mali's Unesco-protected Bandiagara rockface, Dutch architecture firm Levs Architecten created this barrel vaulted and veranda'd school out of locally mined, unfired clay bricks and ceramic pipes, creating a sophisticated and functional chunk of architecture that remains somewhat innate to its setting. Inside, lighting comes from holes afforded by ceramic pipes embedded into the classroom ceilings (they're covered in the rainy season), while verandas stroked with "blocks of compressed earth" porticoed with stepped brick pentagons create an outdoor learning space. What's more, the architects hired local university students and community members to help with its construction. It's all an attempt to create a "supple integration into the environment," as the architects write.
· Vaulted Brick Primary School Built on a Plain in Mali [Elle Decoration]
· Vaulted brick primary school built on a Mali plain by Levs Architecten [Dezeen]