The Library of Muyinga | Elle Decoration South Africa


The first library of Muyinga, part of a future inclusive school for deaf children, in locally sourced compressed earth blocks, built with a participatory approach.

The Deco team recently visited the Open Design Festival at the Cape Town City Hall. Inspired by the detailed overview of WDC 2014 projects, covering issues such as sustainability and community improvement, we launched into further research on how design can transform peoples lives in Africa.

We discovered an incredible project ‘The Library of Muyinga’ by BC Architects & Studies in association with an NGO ODEDIM in Burundi. Combining the skills of local workforces with students and young architects, the first library of Muyinga was built from locally sourced earth blocks and baked clay roof tiles, whilst taking into account traditions of the area and it’s people.

The Library of Muyinga | Elle Decoration South Africa

The Library of Muyinga | Elle Decoration South Africa

The building includes a deliberately oversized “hallway porch” which becomes the full extent of the library, with transparent doors opening onto views over Burundi’s ‘miles collines’ (1000 hills). A high interior with continuous cross-ventilation aids to combat heat and humidity. The double volume creates a special reading space  for the children – an enormous hammock made of sisal rope at the mezzanine level ‘in which the children can dream away with the books that they are reading.’



Compiled by Marushka Stipinovich