Exterior view of Mwabwindo School/ Courtsey of Selldorf Architects

Mwabwindo School

The Mwabwindo School project is the recipient of the 2017 Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award. In its fourth year, the annual award is sponsored by Officine Panerai and celebrates significant contributions to the field of design. The Mwabwindo School project embraces the spirit of the Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award perhaps more uniquely than any other project in the award’s history, offering continued, tangible, and lasting impact to build community through design.

Mwabwindo School will serve primary school students in rural southern Zambia, where travel distance to school is one of the biggest impediments to quality education. The project will also involve providing the larger community of Mwabwindo Village with vital improvements to infrastructure and access to goods and services, including wells and water systems, increased access to medical services, recreational areas, and more. The Mwabwindo School project is a collaborative project, the first in the award’s history, conceived by 14+ Foundation, New York; Selldorf Architects, New York; and artist Rashid Johnson, with the addition of newly commissioned furniture by Christ & Gantenbein, Basel. The collaborators, all of whom are donating their services to the project, are committed to the cause of providing not only an inspired place for learning, but also promoting sustainable resource use, arts education, and communitybuilding through design.

Mwabwindo School, which will open in 2018 and serve primary school students in rural southern Zambia, will be the second school in the region developed by 14+ Foundation, an organization committed to increasing education accessibility in rural African communities. The school’s design by Selldorf Architects, New York, is inspired by the tall trees on the surrounding savanna that serve as shaded gathering spaces. The complex will comprise mud-brick classrooms for 200 students arranged around courtyards and covered by a large corrugated metal roof canopy, housing for eight teachers, a vegetable garden, and playing fields. Handmade bricks have been fabricated on-site and buildings will be constructed by local masons, providing employment and training opportunities. Rainwater will be collected for use in the garden, solar panels will provide energy for the school and teachers’ housing, and a windmill will power the facility’s well water. The design will also incorporate a mural installation to be created on-site by contemporary artist Rashid Johnson in collaboration with Mwabwindo School students, emphasizing the importance of art-based educational projects and programs.