×El Jicarito School. Construction Nicaragua, 2017 Photographs: Silvio Balladares
Knitknot architecture partnered with the local NGO Seeds of Learning to build a school prototype for kindergarten and elementary school students. The project takes into account the complex internal dynamics of the communities in which the school was to be implemented, and explores construction systems that enhance collective participatory processes and low-cost local materials and techniques.
Unlike prefabricated construction methods—which require highly technical expertise and expensive power tools—earth bag construction systems demand collective effort and non-specific knowledge. This building takes advantage of these features and provides a system of construction that can easily be adopted by local builders and NGOs. The finished construction acts as an exhibition for earth-bag construction techniques. It encourages local builders to implement the diverse range of systems used in the school to the construction of other structures, such as housing or warehouses. In so doing, it hopes to improve the endurance of current local structures to earthquakes and hurricanes.