Located in a vast field cultivated with sunflowers – from which the name of the complex comes from – the new school for 350 children face to a big problem of the that region: the absence of a suitable formation center for many poor constantly growing children. From the beginning of the design process, the sunflower has been the main source of inspiration, as symbol - the open flower blossomed as metaphor of a new life - but even as formal and functional reference, clearly evident observing the plan and the bioclimatic system of the school. Spaces are divided into 24 domes (“the petals”), arranged radially around a porch (“external corolla”) and a central patio (“internal corolla”). Self-supporting constructions realized through the technique of the compass with the local material, soil compacted into bricks and then baked, the perimeter domes present three distinct dimensions for comply correctly with the local climate. The children’s class rooms from 7 to 12 year’s old are located at East, in the bigger 9 domes in contact between them to block the heavy wind and the sand coming from that side. At North and at South there are 8 domes for the administration and other social functions, illuminated uniformly all over the year thanks to the typical equatorial trajectory of the sun. Finally at West there are the smaller 8 domes for the kindergarten classes and others spaces of service: they are separated between them to permit a visual contact with the surrounding nature and at the same time the entrance of the cool west air. The intersection of the 24 domes of the porch, fundamental element in an arid climate like that of Ikengwa, has been studied to address the rain water toward special grills in the ground and then collect it in an underground cistern set under the central well, around which the patio is developed. The dialog with local people, the attention given to the wheatear situation, to the constructive methods and the materials that characterize the area, they have represented the main elements to develop the whole project, whose realization will give a future rich in hope to a whole generation.

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