Asilong Christian High School

Architect: BNIM

Owner: Asilong Christian High School

Location: Asilong, West Pokot, Kenya

Project site: Greenfield (Previously undeveloped land)

Building program type(s): Education – K-12 School

SITE PLAN - 1 Admin, 2 Classroom, 3 Library/Computer, 4 Lab, 5 Composting Toilets, 6 Dining Hall, 7 Boys Dorm, 8 Girls Dorm, 9 Community Center, 10 Ministry Center, 11 Teachers’ Housing, 12 Maintenance, 13 Gateway Stand, 14 Production Garden, 15 Livestock, (Red Dots) Nodes (community art project)

This is the story of a community imagining a different future for itself, beginning with seeking peace in the region through access to clean water and then enhancing educational opportunities for the primary school graduates. Because of its remote location in northwest Kenya and within a community of subsistence farmers and pastoralists, true sustainability has been the driver for each design decision, including design integration of a severe environment, an engaged community, and local economics. The project is a high school campus that will educate 320 students upon full buildout. Structures accommodate classrooms, offices, dormitories, and teacher housing at its core. The local conditions are harsh by any standard: drastic seasonal swings between dry seasons with harsh equatorial sun and wet seasons with pronounced rainstorms that erode the dry, sparsely planted land with no connection to a municipal water or power system. Design constraints and opportunities are dictated by the place: zero net energy, zero net water, emphasis on regional materials and local labor, and community engagement to ensure generational success. Strategies driven by an integrated triple-bottom-line philosophy include:

  • Respect the beauty of place and people by providing design that is simple, durable, and of its place.
  • Design initial buildings that are flexible in use (classrooms or offices or sleeping rooms).
  • Use familiar materials, but with enhanced construction detailing and techniques.
  • Acknowledge extreme climate by providing an abundance of shaded areas, increasing educational space available for overflow.
  • Capture rainwater in rainy seasons for daily needs.
  • Encourage capacity for local laborers to learn new skills and improve their economic situation (on-site brickmaking, cast-in-place concrete, crafting of wicker screens).
  • Provide teacher housing that attracts the best teachers in the region.
  • Integrate original community needs for water, education, and health.

Additional information

Project attributes

Year of design completion: 2018

Year of substantial project completion: 2018

Gross conditioned floor area: 0 sq ft

Gross unconditioned floor area: 13,782 sq ft

Number of stories: 1

Project Climate Zone: 2B - International Climate Zone Conversion Chart

Annual hours of operation: 1560

Site area: 887,429 sq ft

Project site context/setting: rural

Cost of construction, excluding furnishing: $300,386

Number of residents, occupants, visitors: 61

Project Team

Engineer - Civil: KPFF Civil Engineers

Engineer - Structural: Tipping Structural Engineers

Engineer - Structural: Mar Structural Design

General Contractor: Kennedy Matini, Watsan Construction


Nancy Clanton, Clanton & Associates

Paul Mankins, FAIA, Substance Architecture

Christiana Moss, AIA, Studio Ma

Christoph Reinhart, MIT

Allison Williams, FAIA, AGWms_studio

Image credits

COTE Asilong1


COTE Asilong2

Chuck Choi

COTE Asilong3

Chuck Choi

COTE Asilong4

Chuck Choi

COTE Asilong5

Chuck Choi