Open Bricks Equal Open Schools
Jan 13, 2021

In rural Tambacounda, students attend classes from October to June, coinciding with the dry part of the year, when temperatures reach over 100 degrees and the wind kicks up dust. Electricity and air conditioning are non-existent in rural villages, so most schoolrooms in these locales have only small windows to block out the harsh elements while letting in fresh air. The interiors can be dim as a result, and not ideal for reading or looking at a chalkboard.

Over the last ten years, as Le Korsa built Thread, the Fass School, and the redesign of Tambacounda Hospital, we learned from local builders such as Dr. Magueye Ba, and partnering architects such as Toshiko Mori and Manuel Herz, how to create brighter spaces that also remain cool and relatively dust-free: open brickwork.

Open bricks, which feature in all the aforementioned projects, can be layered and angled to block the prevailing winds and the attendant dust. They also screen the harsh sun during the daytime without eliminating too much luminosity, providing a bright and clean interior that is well-suited for schools.

In 2018, thanks to the support of the Clara Lionel Foundation, we built three new schools in the Tambacounda region. One, in Sare Sidi, has a particularly fine example of open brickwork, thanks to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our partner Dr. Ba, whose construction team was building the school (Dr. Ba is a man of many talents).

Dr. Ba’s team had built Thread, the Fass School, and was busy working on the Tambacounda Hospital extension in 2018. He noticed that the bricks his team was fabricating for the maternity ward could be put to excellent use in the school. On the fly he brought them into the school’s design, where their near floor-to-ceiling height creates an environment that is airy and luminous.

Before this school was built, the students and teachers of Sare Sidi used temporary shelters built from branches and thatch, which could easily be destroyed by the elements.

The new school now hosts two teachers and hundreds of students. If you would like to help Le Korsa bring more schools like it to the region, please join us!