Architecture for Humanity 2020 Edition
Design of a Floating School in Kiribati
The workshop, conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy Sustainability of the Republic of Kiribati and the tutorship of TAMassociati, offered the students the opportunity to work on what is the symbolic context of the global climate change crisis: the Tarawa atoll, capital of the Republic of Kiribati. The project involved the design of a nursery school resilient to the extreme conditions that more and more often this natural paradise must face in light of the rising ocean levels. Context of extraordinary charm both from an anthropological point of view - the Ikiribati are the descendants of the ancient Polynesian navigators - and from a naturalistic point of view, Tarawa and Kiribati have been an ideal background for conducting design reflections that combine humanity, nature, and contemporary architecture and that are oriented to giving a future of beauty to the young generations of the island.
Kiribati is a group of 33 atolls located in the center of the Polynesian triangle. Very isolated from the rest of the world, it takes a 10-hour flight to reach Tarawa from the airport of the nearest metropolis. This isolation has allowed the islands to retain a charm and naturalness that are difficult to describe: here, ancient communities live and pass on the distant traditions of their ancestors. The name of Tarawa itself means “land”, which is also the same word used for “the people” as in the Kiribatese culture the identity of the population lies on its own island. With an average height of 80 cm above the Pacific Ocean level, Kiribati is constantly subject to flooding and the target of a brackish spray that poisons their water reserves, deserts the island, and destroys the crops. In spite of the prohibitive conditions imposed by climate change, native people strive to defend life on their own island - a place that is now adverse, but nevertheless remains the place of their memory, their roots, and their ancestors - with such a commitment and pride that even the most distracted eyes would see it.