This project makes use of the existing site conditions–the current school organization, local building practices and materials, and the mature trees–and elevates these assets to a higher level of functionality and beauty. The new site layout takes its cues from the city fabric, embracing the compound and courtyard typologies, or qalats. As in the traditional qalat, the compound wall acts as a veil between the girls and the public, allowing the students complete freedom within the school grounds. The subtle upward slope at the school entrance signifies the transition between public and private, as one enters through a small greeting courtyard typical to traditional Afghan compounds.
The classrooms—the dominant programmatic element in this project—encompass the perimeter of the compound, redefining the existing boundary. Each classroom space addresses the center, focusing the energy inward to the main courtyard. The classrooms utilize earth brick as infill to a concrete structural frame. They are spacious, functional, comfortable, and naturally lit spaces that are conducive to learning.