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BC Architects & Studies / Belgium LIBRARY OF MUYINGA, BURUNDI, 2012 A new library is the first step in the plan to build a school for deaf children who, in a culture based on oral tradition, are often excluded from communities. The library takes its point of departure in the principle of open structures; a modular system that enables everyone to design simple, inexpensive buildings that can be varied in relation to the specific place. With the wish to involve local residents, BC Architects were asked to design the library on the open structures principle. In order to build sustainably in both economic and environmental respects, all facets of the project have been dealt with using local materials, construction skills and manpower. The house is built of bricks made with traditional Burundian methods with the earth available at the site, and the large hammock ceiling is woven of sisal using traditional methods. This general closeness to the site and its culture is a tendency that typifies many recent architectural projects on the African continent – that is, user involvement at all levels: the ideas phase, the design process and not least the construction with the aid of local forces and resources. Experience shows that user involvement creates a stronger relationship with the project and thus ensures its sustainability. BUILT BY USERS  193


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