Supporting a sustainable ecosystem

When envisioning a sustainable future for the next generation, the environment is an essential concern of education. From the outset, sustainable building practices were at the core of our designs for educational facilities in Gando, through the choice of local and ecological construction materials and methods. Yet our aim is to go beyond simply mitigating the environmental impact of our buildings towards promoting environmental protection and improving the conditions of the ecosystem, both locally and on a larger scale.

Our first initiative was to create a garden for the Gando Primary School, which became not only an invaluable educational resource for students, but also supplemented their school lunches with fresh produce. Growing out of the garden’s success, an extensive mango tree plantation has benefited Gando’s entire community. With the design of the Naaba Belem Goumma Secondary School, an ambitious landscaping project was undertaken. The campus currently under construction will be surrounded by terraces planted with native tree species and vegetation. This will improve the microclimate of the campus while helping to push back desertification.

The availability of water is key to the success of these initiatives. In 2018, we planned and built the Waterhouse, an underground reservoir that harvests rainwater to be used during the dry season.

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Global Holcim Award 2012

Our commitment to addressing environmental issues in our projects was acknowledged by the board of the prestigious LafargeHolcim Foundation. The Lycée Belem Goumma was commended for excellence in sustainable construction, particularly its adaptive use of clay.



Gando Waterhouse, cross section. By Kéré Architecture GmbH
Gando Waterhouse, longitudinal section. By Kéré Architecture GmbH
Gando Waterhouse, plan. By Kéré Architecture GmbH
Gando Waterhouse. Photos by Francis Kéré

One of the challenges faced by Gando’s population is managing irregular rainfall over the course of the year. During the rainy season from June to September, flooding often occurs as the hard laterite soil cannot absorb the heavy rainfall. During the dry season on the other hand, water shortages are a frequent problem, affecting the fruit production of mature trees and threatening the survival of saplings.

The Gando Waterhouse contributes to solving this problem by harvesting rainwater from the roof of the Gando Primary School Extension throughout the rainy season and storing it to be used for irrigation during the dry season. Its large underground tank can safely store up to 1,000 cubic metres of water, protecting it from evaporation and contamination. Three filtration basins guarantee the quality of the water by removing impurities. The tank is made of reinforced concrete, making it resistant to high mechanical loads and ensuring its long-term stability. Its vaulted roof is interrupted by openings that let natural light in to allow for maintenance. The stunning shards of sunlight on the water’s surface celebrate the work of infrastructure.

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