A new community school for Malawi.

Refurbished shipping containers were used as structurally sound elements with a dual function as a transportable element, and as a shell and anchor for a new building structure. By utilising locally manufactured materials, it provided the community with a sense of ownership and softened the container as a foreign contextual element. The school building doubles as a community space for gatherings and events that generate revenue, allowing the school to sustain itself economically.

Evolutionary Paradigm

Proof of concept before implementation.

Prototyping and construction of design before implementation – The manufacture and testing of the prefabricated structure in South Africa allowed for easy assembly during the building process and eliminated technical difficulties and time wastage.


Reflective of a humanising architecture, such that the architect experiences a humanising encounter.

Simplicity of design – The building was prefabricated in South Africa and transported to Malawi. This was done to obtain a superior quality of finishes.

Cost effectiveness.

People Upliftment

Reciprocity – The exchange of knowledge with the community was involved throughout the process of the school design and build, and their input was invaluable with lessons on local methods being passed on to the architects.

Social upliftment.

Interdisciplinary/international collaboration and technology sharing.

Placemaking Performance

A shift from community participation to ongoing community ownership.

Being utilised as an instrument for learning – The community members assisted in producing local finishes, and local labour was used in the construction of the school. The school community took ownership through their involvement in the project, from its inception through to its completion.