This project combines two different building systems and capitalizes on the strengths of each to create a new model for Afghan schools. The first system–using vernacular masonry techniques typical to the region–accommodates the classrooms; the second system–using contemporary wood framing salvaged from decommissioned NATO bases–creates “sunspaces” for the classroom buildings, passively heating the school in winter. The sunspaces also bring added value to the school curriculum by offering a place for students to learn skills such as calligraphy, textile crafts, and greenhouse gardening. These new extracurricular activities promote a greater social role for the school within the community.
The classroom units are arranged on the site to maximize solar heat gain in the winter months and passive ventilation during the summer and shoulder seasons. Additionally, the buildings use their mass to create pockets of exterior space that can be used for different types of activities. These spaces range in size and level of exposure to the public areas of the school, located near the street.