Sunday, April 19, 2009

Designing a World of Hope

This past Wednesday I had the opportunity to visit the construction site for a project designed by Engineering Ministries International, a Christian organization that brings together design professionals to work on projects in the developing world. This particular project is to be a primary school for orphaned and low-income children who participate in a choir that tours the United States, Canada and Europe.

The project is being built to the highest standards, but that doesn't mean that it's being built like a western building. The walls are constructed of brick and mortar, with concrete columns to support the weight of the roof and provide rigidity (yes, there are earthquakes in Uganda!). The tin roof will have a dropped ceiling to support light fixtures and provide good acoustics (a brief tangent - this is important because the buildings here are very echo-y. The exposed concrete is needed to keep the building cool, but it comes at the cost of bad acoustics). Additionally, all doors, access ways and ramps will be ADA-compliant. The high ceilings will stratify the air, and the open ceiling will let that air out through the top of the building, allowing fresh air to enter through open windows at ground level.

The project is also good experience for the Ugandan construction team because they get the opportunity to work on a high-profile (and well-funded) project. It also is an opportunity to see a modified and improved method of construction. It's a method appropriate for long-term maintanance, comfort and safety.

More photos

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