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feat.collective, Lanka Learning Center, Sri Lanka

Equal Opportunity for All: Education Centre in Sri Lanka

On a plot of land a good two kilometres from the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, several copses surround a clearing. This is a rare phenomenon and a true gift in the prevalent climate, which is why preserving the trees had top priority in the design for the Lanka Learning Centre.

The starting point for the project was a workshop, held in Sri Lanka with 80 participants and students from the University of Stuttgart. Based on the results of their work, they developed the idea to build an education centre and meeting place for disadvantaged children from various ethnicities and religions. The five pavilions fill the spaces between the trees; they were inspired by the loose structure of the fishing village itself.

A wall surrounds the buildings, which are arranged around a circular courtyard. The opening to the main road forms a natural entryway. At the same time, the wall offers both shelter and space for ancillary rooms between the individual structures. Along with a water tower, the complex features a canteen with kitchen, two classrooms, a workshop and space for administration.

In order to protect the interior spaces from flooding and drifting sand, they are elevated two steps above ground level. The ensemble rests on spot footing, which kept costs down, and consists of an earthquake-proof concrete skeleton with ring anchors. The interstitial spaces of the skeleton have been filled with hand-made bricks in various patterns. According to their intended use, the walls are either perforated or closed off. Facing the courtyard, the folding teak walls can be opened up completely. The choice of materials will limit the cost of future repairs or renovations. Above all, the locals will be able to do the work themselves.

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