magadi cladssroom prototype             

The Magadi classroom prototype combines a prefabricated steel frame and locally sourced materials to offer a viable alternative to a customary concrete classroom design in terms of construction cost.


The building draws inspiration from the arid, rocky landscape of the Magadi region and is designed to be robust and low maintenance to ensure its longevity in the remote rural context. A modular design allows classrooms to be organised around a central playground, the preferred layout of primary schools in Kenya. The stone infilling technique applied in the construction of the gabion walls can be mastered by both local women and international volunteers coming to teach at the Memusi schools.


Soaring temperatures and large class sizes can make learning more challenging for children in rural Kenya. The classroom prototype attempts to mitigate these challenges both through passive design strategies and providing a well-equipped learning environment. The thermal mass of the external gabion walls absorb heat during the day ensuring cooler indoor temperatures when the classroom is in use and large louvred windows on the eastern and western facades screen the interior from glare and encourage cross ventilation. The sheltered walkway provides a waiting area for the children before they begin class and shades access to the classroom during the hottest parts of the day.

Read more about the prototype classroom on the Freiraum website

The project has been featured in the Architectural Review.

client: the memusi foundation                project area: 35m2

Magadi Classroom Render 2 - Outside Deta

the screened verandah faces north to shade the classroom from sunlight in the day

Magadi Classroom Render 3 - Inside - New

all materials excluding the prefabricated steel frame are found locally

03 Classroom Section.jpg

section through the classroom showing gabion walls and shading

Magadi Classroom Render 1 - School in Co

classrooms can be joined to form a traditional kenyan courtyard school layout