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Erinn McGurn runs both her nonprofit, SCALEAfrica, and her traditional architecture firm, SCALEStudio, from the same loft in the Flatiron district of Manhattan.

SCALEAfrica's first project was building a classroom in Chiutika Village in Mfuwe, Zambia. The nonprofit recently completed two teacher housing buildings for the same school. Clear corrugated panels shade the outdoor veranda.

The foundation was dug out with hands and small shovels by the community. 

The soil under the slab was compacted by hand by pouring concrete into a paint bucket and stamping the entire footprint until level and compacted.

The aggregate for the concrete slab is made by the community crushing rock found on site.

The foundation is made from sundried bricks made from on-site clay and nearby river sand.

The walls are concrete block formed on site with block moulds (mixture of locally sourced Chilanga cement and river sand).

The bamboo solar screen was sourced locally from a farm in Chipata.

Chiutika Basic School's teachers, now properly housed, instruct 1,600 students.

"[W]e take a global view that the quality of the teachers (and the ability to retain them) is central to everyone's success and that they are a critical part of the school and local community," SCALEAfrica says on its website. "They need to be supported and, at a minimum, offered humane living conditions in order to be effective."

Each house has three bedrooms, a living and dining space, and a pantry-utility area. The houses allow for solar panels to be mounted on the roof.

The new teacher housing is located north of the main classroom courtyard. The housing that it replaced was a mix of crumbling ranch houses, mud brick huts, and concrete block shells with leaking roofs.

A variety of windows, sized to address the angle of the sun, adequately daylight the rooms without contributing to heat gain. A band of clerestory windows filters light through a dried sugar-cane screen.

A single pitch roof encourages breezes through the lower windows and out through the clerestory to provide cooling air through the spaces.

Now that the classroom and teacher housing are completed, SCALEAfrica is working on sanitation blocks for the school compound.

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