• January 26, 2023

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In April 2022, the city of Fianarantsoa in Madagascar opened Bougainvillea, a 700-square foot 3D printed school that can hold up to 30 students at a time.

Bougainvillea was seven years in the making, but it only took 18 hours to print the walls and three weeks to complete the structure.

Bougainvillea was created in partnership with Thinking Huts and the University Ecole de Management et d’Innovation Technologique (EMIT) at the University of Fianarantsoa.

The schools students aged 16-18 and is the first in a series of honeycomb-like campuses that will help primary and secondary school students 4-16 years old.

The new 3D printed school comes from the vision of a 22-year-old entrepreneur, Maggie Grout, through her non-profit, Thinking Huts. Thinking Huts centers its activities on human-centric, innovative solutions to solve the world’s problems.

According to UNESCO, one out of every three Malagasy children won’t complete primary school. For those who complete primary school, 97% of Malagasy ten-year-olds cannot read single sentences.

The school is a hybrid-design from the architects Bruno Silva and Yash Mehta of Defining Humanity. The roof, doors and windows were locally sourced and the walls are made of a cement mixture that can withstand environmental pressures in the area. The team used local manufacturers in the construction process which allowed them to teach 3D operational skills that can be applied to future construction projects.

Bougainvillea was 3D printed by 14 Trees, a company with experience printing buildings throughout Kenya and Malawi.

In a statement, Grout says that Bougainvillea (Hut version 1) will be replicated in urban and rural locations where the need is most significant in the future. Their concept is to create scaled honeycomb campuses of multiple connecting huts.

“Drawing inspiration from the beehive, it symbolizes bringing together people to form a community that only thrives if everyone works towards a shared mission,” said Grout in a statement. “3D printing allows for a reduction of construction waste and time.”

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