Architizer – A Philippines Slum Turns A Schoolhouse Into A Community Good October, 2013. This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award in the Architecture + Collaboration category.

Before children from the coastal slum of Seawall, in Tacloban, the Philippines, can go to school, they need a lot of other details to fall into place. Lunch. Uniforms. Books. A break from working for their families’ survival. A place to study and prepare to re-enter the classroom. When three architecture students from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology looked at Seawall’s obstacles to education, they saw, yes, an architectural solution—but also a deeper community problem. Behind every absentee student loomed the influence of a parent. How could they change the culture?

Under the auspices of the nonprofit Streetlight, Ivar Tutturen, Trond Hegvold, and Alexander Furunes organized the parents of Seawall into a design committee. Between 2010 and 2012, the student-architects and the families workshopped plans for a new study center and enlisted the community’s help to construct it. The building, which opened last year, serves as a way station between the streets and government schools, offering preparatory study sessions and meals to children of all ages. It’s also the winner of the Popular Choice prize in the Architecture + Collaboration category of the A+ Awards!

“The aim was to use architecture as a tool to empower the parents to improve the learning conditions for their own children,” write the designers.

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