Makuleke Community Library

The Makuleke community library is a collaboration between MIT DLab Schools students and Sharing to Learn, a non-profit in Makuleke South Africa dedicated to creating a culture of reading and learning in disadvantaged communities with limited educational resources in rural Limpopo province. We, a group of students from DLab Schools, travelled to Makuleke over January to learn about local traditional and non-traditional building methods (scove-kiln fired mud bricks, thatch roofs, manure plaster, as well as conventional cement-sand bricks and corrugated iron roofing.) We had a lot of fun both learning these building methods hands-on (plastering with manure, making cement-stabilized earth bricks), and using instruments (remote temperature loggers, illuminance meters) to make quantitative assessments of the daylighting and thermal performance of local building types. We applied skills and analysis techniques learned in 4.211J DLab Schools, taught by Professors Les Norford and John Ochsendorf to develop and quantitatively verify the performance of new designs for the library based on daylighting, ventilation, thermal, and structural models and simulations. We are continuing to work with Sharing to Learn and local funding sources in South Africa to move the project into construction within the next year.