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Education in Mobile Dwelling

The Civil War in 2012 has left the city of Gao devastated in numerous aspects, amongst which education is the most severely affected. As public school infrastructures were pillaged by armed groups, educational facilities were destroyed, along with books and equipment. Despite a shortage of teachers and instructors, there have been few plans for educational recovery from the administrators. This leads to the question of how to revive the learning scene in Gao.
The second problem that the city is facing is the low population density on the Eastern edge, due to a very eccentric, centralized settlement of the city. Although the base locates not far away, its isolation from the city is apparent.

This project offers a solution to both problems, by suggesting a system of mobile educational hubs that adapt the informal educational setting, adjusting to occasional violent crisis, as well as drawing the urban development further eastwards.

The scheme proposes a series of mobile prototypes that are easy to set up and disassemble, taking form of an umbrella, whose tensile and membrane structure mimics the vernacular nomadic tents. Each tent is an educational hub, where self-learning is enhanced and knowledge is obtained by using visuals and sounds, instead of conventional textbooks.

The space inside is divided into individual rooms by interior partitions, providing learners privacy and preventing them from distractions. A projector for each room shows videos and images onto the interior side of the membrane’s surface.

The central core supports the whole rib structure, which defines the perimeter of the tent. Visitors can circulate around the core, within the transitional passage before entering the rooms.


Individual wireless antennas are also installed for each tent. Together they create a network, transmitting and receiving information from each other. When crisis occurs, these hubs can be transported to a new place, hence building a continuous stream of knowledge for learners without interruption.

A case study of several schools in El Aaiun, a city in the Moroccan Sahara, shows the relationship between schools and the urban fabric. Newly constructed schools become the seeds for potential development, attracting new residential and commercial compounds in their vicinity.

In a similar notion, the network of educational hubs will decentralize the city, and start to draw the population density closer to the base. The hubs may be temporary, but still creates a pattern of people movements and activities as they visit frequently. Urban voids are given new identities by initiated developments around. Even when the “seeds” are no longer there, the small extensions are still in existence, and will be expanded later on.

The educational hubs blend with the nomadic lifestyle of the locals, while offering the solution of mobility as a response to violent crisis as well as attractants for future urban development

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