• Abilonino Community Polytechnic/ Lexicon + Ion Architects

Architects: Lexicon + Ion  
Location: Lira,  Uganda
Project Team: Team Leaders: Arthur Adeya, Solomon Mbicha, Felix Lati, Oscar Onguto Architectural Team: Frederick Mae, Wycliffe Waburiri,Allan Sudi
Project Year: 2013
Photographer: Greyscale Studios

Project Status: Competition Entry, Third Place
Images: Lexicon plus Ion, Greyscale Studios

The Abilonino community polytechnic project proposal by Lexicon is a project that attempts to achieve a subsequent layering approach to space-making through a thoroughfare experience that not only creates spaces but embraces them towards formal and informal poise. The project organized by the Ugandan Ministry officials sort  to build a completely new college including classrooms, workshops, laboratories, a library, offices, and staff rooms, dining facilities with a kitchen, student dormitories and a small demonstration school.

The project seeks to impact the community in Lira through imparting building technology skills to the local community. The project is intended to achieve low cost construction techniques but with a high standard of workmanship hence the local community will be educated in building techniques and management skills. This is inclusive of students of the same polytechnic.

The project has utilized locally available materials with low embodied energy and that are easily maintained. The careful use of burnt brick, concrete and rounded stone finish walls.

Architectural [Social] Statement

The project seeks to stem an architectural language that fuses traditional techniques and contemporary practice to achieve high level designs. The forms in the project are therefore a statement architecturally as they are a statement of the power of the community.

It therefore employs a space-making approach to designing the project. The entire master plan radiates from a central spine that forms a thoroughfare through the campus and spills into small courts between units where the life of the campus is. The project has focused on both the indoor environment of the project and the outdoor experience to come up with a holistic approach to the design that fuses a rigorous process of interior design and landscaping to achieve such.

Abilonino Campus buildings were sustainably designed buildings that are energy efficient, water-efficient and resource-efficient. They address the well-being of the occupants by considering thermal comfort, acoustics, indoor air quality and visual comfort in the design.

They also consider the impact of a building’s construction, operation and maintenance on the environment, and the environmental impact of the building’s constituent materials. As such the concept is a scheme that considers all of these aspects through the entire life cycle of the building, including its operation and maintenance.

The buildings are oriented in a North- South direction to ensure a comfortable internal climate so as to allow the users achieve their greatest potential. This proposal therefore achieves the four elements of good environmental design to spatial quality reference i.e natural lighting, natural ventilation, views to nature and positive distractions and also the gardens act as sound quality buffers.

Operational Waste:

Lexicon proposed a full waste management plan, with systems such as controlled rubbish shoots to recycle as close to 100% of waste as possible. The farm will provide the manure necessary to run the biogas system that will power the school and run minor electrical requirements.

Jury report on the project commended the use of materialism towards a comprehensive community centre for learning. It however faulted the project not integrating with its immediate surrounding context and the site use.

 Largely, the entry encompasses an all-inclusive theme of low cost architecture and building and fuses the rigorous tenets of African design standards of rugged raw materialism and fashionable emerging trends that embrace extensive planes and blank solid elements.

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