Banyaka Lower Basic School

This project to deliver expanded and improved facilities for a school in the village of Banyaka in the Gambia, West Africa, highlights our commitment to global social responsibility.

The project resulted from a visit to Banyaka Lower Basic School by director Albert Taylor, where the head-teacher requested assistance in realising a vision for expanded facilities. Members of our research team,, worked on masterplanning the site, designing a range of new and extended buildings and additional facilities.

Launched in 1995 by Dutch initiative “Foundation Banyaka Gambia”, the school was designed to provide education for 350 children across 12 classrooms. Continued success attracted a further 200 students, leading to increasing space shortages.

Consultation with stakeholders began with a questionnaire. We set up workshops, including a drawing exercise with pupils, to aid us in determining key aspirations for the project.

Facilities planned for the site included a large multi-purpose hall, which can be hired out to generate funds and help increase the school’s financial independence. The scheme’s centrepiece, the 1,150 m² space is used for dining, sports, workshops and performances. Its iconic design with distinctive perimeter fin columns provides sunlight screening while directing breezes to cool the hall.

In addition to this is an administration block, expanded classrooms and teachers’ quarters plus a new clinic, farm and improved security measures. A new storey built above the classrooms, sits on a separate structure so as not to impose additional loads on the existing buildings. Roofs are reused to minimise waste, and any wastewater treated on-site and recycled.

All materials are sourced within 50 miles of the site to keep down transport carbon emissions while supporting the local economy and introducing useful new skills to labourers.

A masterplan for expanding facilities at Banyaka Primary School in The Gambia

Banyaka, The Gambia
Banyaka Lower Basic School