But Johannesburg-based firm Architecture for a change (A4AC) recently built a community center and school in Malawi from shipping containers that aims to mitigate this with an open design. The firm also installed rainwater harvesting and solar power to allow the school to operate off-grid.
The Legson Kayira Community Center and Primary School is a simple structure, both inside and out. It measures 380 sq m (4,090 sq ft), and comprises two classrooms, a large central courtyard, and some bleachers. The building is primarily used to teach children, but also serves as an adult training center, weekend market, and community center.
The school was manufactured at A4AC's workshop in South Africa, before being transported to Malawi. During construction, the firm used a number of shipping containers as a basic building material and added a lightweight steel supporting frame and roof. A4AC also removed sections of the containers and installed louvered walls to encourage natural ventilation.