Madagascar gets first printed school complex

Thinking Huts, a US not-for-profit company set up to build affordable schools in less developed countries, has completed its first printed school in Madagascar.

The Bougainvillea project, which has been under development for the past seven years, is located in Fianarantsoa, a city in the south of the island whose name means “good education” in Malagasy. 

The scheme was undertaken in partnership with the Ecole de Management et d’Innovation Technologique (EMIT), a college in the city.

The solar-powered school was designed by architects Bruno Silva and Yash Mehta based on a plan devised by Maggie Grout, the founder and chief executive of Thinking Huts, for a honeycomb arrangement of classrooms.

Grout commented: ”The past two years have shed light on the urgency of human-centric, innovative solutions to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. We look forward to growing as we address the need for schools while bringing people together and inspiring the next generation to make a difference. This is only the beginning.”

Construction was handled by local contractor Secoa and carried out by 14 Trees, a company set up by Swiss cement maker Holcim and British investor CDC Group to supply affordable buildings in Africa.

The school, which can accommodate up to 40 pupils, was created using a cement mixture that will resist the tropical climate of the region, and used locally sourced materials for the roof, door, and windows. This allowed the project to offer work to local subcontractors and transfer technical skills to the local workforce. 

Grout chose Madagascar out of seven candidate countries owing to its need for education infrastructure, its emerging economy, opportunity for growth, as well as renewable energy potential.

It is estimated that Madagascar, a country with a per capita GDP of $500, needs more than 22,000 schools to set up a comprehensive education system.

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