AWB helps design campus in Nicaragua

Architects Without Borders is providing pro-bono design services to a California-based nonprofit called Gocare Inc. for an education campus in El Madrono, Nicaragua.

Architects Sheri Olson of Seattle and Lynn Gaffney of Brooklyn are co-leads for the 7,100-square-foot project.

Gocare said in a press release that it is recognized by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education as a model for providing youth and adult education.

The campus is set to open this year. The seven buildings will house four classrooms for children, three classrooms for adults, a computer center, a library and offices.

The buildings will surround a central courtyard. A plaza and amphitheater at the front of the building lead to a kitchen in the vocational classroom. The outdoor space can be used for gatherings or rented out.

Gaffney and Olson’s design creates platforms and structures that step up the hillside. A covered arcade links the buildings and engages the courtyard and sheltered outdoor classrooms. Spaces between buildings bring views and ventilation into the courtyard.

The project uses local materials and construction methods. Exterior walls will be striated brick with a concrete bond beam. In some areas a random, open-brick arrangement will provide ventilation. Corrugated metal-clad clerestory roofs will allow daylight in the classrooms and cane ceilings will absorb sound.

Gocare said over 3,800 students have graduated from its programs. The organization encourages college students to become mentors and leaders in their community and help people move out of poverty.

Sheri Olson founded her practice in 2004, specializing in residential design. Lynn Gaffney Architect was founded in 1997, and does restaurants, educational complexes and housing.