SCIENCE LABS, MILEMBE SCHOOL

Biology, Chemistry and Physics Laboratories comprised the first phase of construction funded by Africa Schoolhouse at Milembe Secondary School in Misungwi, Tanzania. They address recent Tanzanian government directives that all public secondary schools be equipped with science laboratories to meet 21st century demands for training in science, math and technology.

Built by Africa Schoolhouse crews, the structures incorporate simple materials and local construction techniques in new ways. Our designs highlighted conditions for learning and sustainability. Large windows on four sides, as well as clerestories and shaded skylights, provide natural light and ventilation while minimizing solar gain. Custom louvers, prototyped by SD in Portland, were manufactured by artisans at the nearby Bujora Museum for about half the cost of conventional aluminum windows imported from China. Roof overhangs shade walls and openings and gutters collect rainwater into storage barrels. An elevated tank provides water by gravity into the Chemistry and Biology labs.

The three lab buildings are clustered around a terrace with local stone walls and steps that will host school-wide debates and presentations in the shade of fruit trees. With walls of cement blocks cast on site, exposed wood trusses, bamboo light screens and gray aluminum roofing, the structures blend with the agrarian landscape. A deep-water well, accessible to local villagers, and composting latrines were also part of this phase.