Flor da Manhã

Educate, integrate, and be sustainable were the brief for this preschool for socially excluded children in Xai-Xai, Mozambique

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Project location

Xai-Xai, Mozambique



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Melanie O'Brien

Jason Lementowski

Cognitive, motor and social development in young children is supported by time spent in the natural world. At the Flor da Manhã Preschool, outdoor program is given equal importance to indoor. 

A natural split in program functions between those exclusively for pupils and those to be shared with the community offer the opportunity to create a two-tiered building; providing both kids and community members their own 'retreats', while also forming spaces where experiences overlap and differences dissolve.  

Ventilation Strategy


A double skin roof system allows the brick vaults to remain shaded from the heat of the sun above, while also allowing any heat gathering in the classrooms below to escape. Cross ventilation is enhanced via operable shutters on the windows facing the surrounding farmland, and window boxes which can be filled with water to cool incoming air. Section C-C with Ventilation st
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Life of the School

Establishing common ground, while also maintaining comfortable distance would be key to facilitating successful acceptance of the excluded children into the community.

The central courtyard is the heart of the school. Both dining hall and multipurpose gathering spaces open onto it, allowing it at times to become one large event space, and at others be programmed for either community or school functions without impinging on the life of the other. Concept Diagrams_All.jpg Circulation Plans_Both.jpg Circulation Plans_Both.jpg
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Walled Garden 

Working with the module of the mud brick to create a variety of forms, functions above that of barrier were added to the wallt throughout the site; from protruding blocks creating shadow wall art, to climbing frames for building the children's physical strength, alongside chanelling water caught on roofs to cater to rainwater harvesting or controlled cultivation areas.

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