The design proposal for the preschool Flor da Manhã, catering to the educational needs of children aged from 0 to 5 years in the Xai-Xai District of Mozambique, responds to the children’s needs for a nurturing and welcoming environment. The school and its premises are accessible and eventful, with a series of well connected enclosed, open and semi-open spaces enhancing the children’s interaction with their peers as well as with the surrounding nature. The natural slope of the terrain is respected and negotiated through moderate and comfortable ramps. As the level difference between the blocks needs to be limited in order to grant easy access to all, the blocks are organised on two levels. Open courtyards are created between the parallel building blocks, and two large covered playgrounds at the extremities of the classrooms blocks provide shelter for the children’s outdoor activities under any weather condition.
Flor da Manhã preschool will provide a nurturing and caring environment that will enable the children’s growth in close connection with the natural settings. An orchard and various fruit trees are planted around and between the building blocks, thus creating pockets of greenery where children can find solace from the harsh sun and also observe natural processes. Locally common mango trees are suggested, as with their dense foliage they provide a soothing shade and their roots growing deep into the ground help consolidate the slope. A curbing cob wall will define the boundary of the campus, utilizing the earth excavated on site and visually connecting the enclosed space with the sky and the outer environment. The material used are locally available: stone for foundations, compressed earth blocks for walls and upcycled pine wood for the roof understructure. Ceilings made out of locally sourced reeds or bamboo provide further heat and sound insulation to the roof.