A new class structure

Kavre school is rebuilt using rammed earth walls to make classrooms stronger and more climate-friendly

Nearly 8,000 schools were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake in central Nepal, and more than 33,000 classrooms collapsed. The death toll in the earthquake would have been much higher than 8,900 if the disaster had not struck on a Saturday when schools were empty.

Aerial view of Dwarpaleswor School in Kavre that was completely destroyed in the 2015 earthquake and rebuilt using a seismic resistant rammed earth design. Photo: KIDS OF KATHMANDU

The earthquake provided Nepali architects a chance to look at lighter and stronger structures that also addressed seasonal variation in temperature, natural lighting and airiness.

One of these is the Dwarpaleswor Secondary School in Mandan Deupur of Kavre which was destroyed in the earthquake of 2015. Architect Arun Rimal of Office of Structural Design based in New York says he took into account the terrain and location on a ridge with a stunning view of the Panchkhal Valley below and the Himalayan panorama beyond.

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“We incorporated canopy spaces into the design on all four sides of the building allowing students to interact with outdoor space in between the classes,” says Rimal, who has also employed the same rammed earth technique in the school that he used in the award-winning Bayalpata Hospital in Achham.

Rammed earth is more sustainable, uses mostly local clay, insulates the classrooms from excessive heat and cold, and is sturdier. The earthquake provided the opportunity to replace the dingy and crowded classrooms of standard government schools, most of which collapsed or were badly damaged in 2015.

Construction of the school was supported by Kids of Kathmandu , Sustainable Future, Moving Mountains, Fundacion Heres, Karma Improvement Project and Netflix and inaugurated on 20 January.

Monika Deupala


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