What is happening on the construction site?
We have redesigned a manual brick-press machine to make bricks more bearable and produced faster.
We have designed a secondary school and vocational school campus with a capacity of 250 students.
What is happening on the construction site?
What's happening on the site.
What's happening on the site.
What´s happening at the construction site.
On Monday morning Bára and Lukáš say goodbye to us. Tomorrow they fly home. They didn't have time to meet the brick machines. Before noon, they sit in the car with Matěj, thinking that only a peaceful journey home awaits them. Halfway to Lusaka, Peter calls, "Could you meet the Foreign Minister tomorrow morning?"
Secondary School in Kashitu
Kashitu is a rural area of Zambia located between the towns of Ndola and Kapiri Mposhi on the main highway. It is thus an important transport link, along with a train station, which is close to a school, a kindergarten, a church, a playground and a community centre run by the non-profit organisation New Renato Community Society and, recently, a clinic. There are several hundred farms loosely spread across the landscape, which is typical for African rural areas.
New Renato Community Society is a local non-profit organisation that has established and runs a kindergarten and primary school with great success thanks to volunteers and government teachers. Rural development and education in the area is the organisation's main goal. Trainers teach the people of the local community about beekeeping, agriculture, education, health care, youth development, and good nutrition.
The Kashitu area is sorely lacking a secondary school that would contribute significantly to the development of the entire area. Graduates of this educational institution would help to develop new business opportunities and trades and realise their potential.
Education is a key element of every development. Secondary education is most needed in rural areas. A countrywide lack of schools causes villages to be left behind in development in Zambia. Furthermore, it greatly exacerbates unemployment, low job opportunities, and economic dependence.
The community of vibrant and experienced locals has had the main initiative for regional development. They came up with the idea of building the school. All their requests and needs are one of the key aspects of the design and building process. Local organisation New Renato Community Society is eager to operate the school after its completion.
The majority of the materials for school construction are possible to resource locally. Preferable materials are those that are renewable, easy to use, and traditional.
The secondary school in Kashitu is designed for 5 years study.
> The capacity of the school is 250 students.
> 14 local teachers and 8 volunteers from Europe will provide lectures.
> The campus offers accommodation for students and teachers.
> Campus entrance is located next to the nearby highway and the train station.
There are buildings with classrooms, on the right side common classrooms and on the left classrooms for teaching agriculture, nutrition, and tailoring together with laboratories for physics, chemistry, and biology. Behind the laboratories, there is a kitchen with a dining hall. Carpentry and metal workshops are located on the side so they do not disturb the surrounding teaching with their noise as little as possible. The centrepiece of the school is a circular building with a chapel and library.
The boarding concept of the school allows for extended accessibility to education for students from more distant locations. For them, the boys' and girls' dormitories are designed, they are oriented to the central courtyard and equipped with all the necessary facilities - sanitary facilities, study rooms, rest and leisure rooms.
There are buildings for teachers and their families in the back of the campus to provide peace and privacy. They are designed as semi-detached or detached houses, including small fields for growing their own crops and vegetables. Two individual houses are designed for volunteers providing teaching, each for four volunteers.
The burnt and unburnt bricks are traditional building materials in Zambia. Unburnt bricks are usualy used for residential buildings, burnt bricks for public buildings. However, brick burning is very demanding on need for or wood which is not only very limited in Zambia but as well let to deforestation. Therefore, we have decided to use unburnt bricks and increase their durability and load-bearing capacity by adding cement. The shape of the bricks produced resembles lego blocks, which fit together easily and speed up the construction of the building. These bricks can be easily made with a manual brick-press machine only.
The brick production begins by sifting the clay through a 5x5 mm sieve. This clay is then mixed with cement (5%) and sand. The resulting mixture is then fed into a manual brick-press machine where it is compacted and brick is produced. This brick is carefully removed from the brick-press machine and stored to slowly age in 28 days.
"16 250 Bricks and 23 Days Production Time for one School Building"
The technology of brick production is developed so that the bricks have sufficient strength by adding a suitable cement content. Testing of the mixture and production technology is not only being carried out within CTU, but other partner universities, such as Mulungushi University in Kabwe, Zambia, are also involved.
The traditional technology of simple molds with little compression force used commonly by local people was a starting point to develop improved manual brick-press machine. Traditional unburnt bricks are susceptible to termite infestation unless they go through the firing process. These bricks are poorly load-bearing and do not withstand the weather (wind, rain). Buildings made of these bricks have to be rebuilt after 15 to 20 years.
Compared to a simple molds, our brick-press machine allows higher compression force, production of two bricks at once and thanks to the reservoir it is not necessary to dose the mixture for each compression separately. Production is faster and the bricks are stronger and more durable. The use of cement in combination with the brick-press machine enables the production of bricks that are dimensionally stable, sufficiently strong and resistant to the weather and natural conditions.
"The brick press machine allows the production of approximately 30 bricks per hour."
The manual brick-press machine is mobile and very easy to transport to a specific location. The pressing force is at least doubled thanks to the new pressing mechanism. The new design also allows better cleaning and maintenance of the machine. The brick press is composed of individual parts that can be assembled into a compact form for handling or transport. Each of these parts can be replaced and the entire machine does not require any electrical power or replacement of worn parts to function. Should any part fail, it can be easily replaced with available spare parts.
Buildings made of pressed bricks have a long tradition in Zambia. Their dimensions are a relic of the colonial era (imperial units). Our bricks use the metric system, which is now common practice in Zambia, and have a permanent and precise shape due to the cement addition.
The holes in the bricks allow easy placement of building services or reinforcement and concrete filler. The reinforcment increases rigidity and load bearing capacity.
The shape of the bricks, reminding of LEGO bricks, is used to improve the construction conditions. It allows dry construction of masonry structures, reduces construction time and is intuitive to use even for non-expert builders. Anyone can work with these bricks after a short training. This construction technology will help the local community to be able to build their own school, more efficiently and at a lower cost.
The entire construction of building structures made of this material has been tested in the laboratories of the Faculty of civil engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague.
Building foundation is designed as strip footing made of concrete and stones from a nearby quarry. Building floors are made of concrete for its durability and resistance.
Walls are designed from unburnt bricks that fit together like lego, so it is not necessary to use mortar. Holes in the bricks allow placement of building services or reinforcement and concrete filler. Termite protection is very important, and it is ensured by the cement in the brick mixture.
The load-bearing structure is made of timber truss beams. Clay cassettes are placed under the metal sheet roof covering, which shields the noise from the rain and improves the thermal stability of the interior.
Available drinking water is important to prevent health risks and to contribute to area development. The water system is a combination of existing boreholes, and a rainwater harvesting system that is designed to collect, treat, and preserve rainwater for later use.
Rainwater is collected from metal sheet roof to the eaves channels and through the first-flush diverter to the gathering tank. The water passes from the gathering tank to the drain tank through sand filtration where several sand and gravel layers clean the water from pollutants. Clean water is gathered to the plastic barrels where it is ready for use. Water distribution is provided by a pumping system that also prevents water from contamination.
Filtration units are composed of several layers, that clean water from all the pollutants. Individual units of the sand filter can be removed and cleaned. Biologically caused contamination can be supplemented by UV light cleaning process.
Natural ventilation is an effective strategy to provide fresh air and to improve thermal comfort. It helps students to achieve their full potential. There are essentially two types of natural ventilation in buildings: cross ventilation (wind-based) and aeration (driven by temperature difference).
Cross ventilation - wind moving around a building creates areas of high and low pressure. The windward side of a building is an area of high pressure while the leeward side and roof are of low pressure. Therefore the widows located on the opposite building sides cause air to move through the building and provide required fresh air.Areation - moving element of the air flow is the difference of the air temperatures of the intake and outtake points. Outside air is getting to the system in the windward side of the building. Air is cooled in the reservoir space and heated by sun warming up and goes up to the roof. Air movement can be controlled by sliding the elements that connect the reservoir to the building.
The Kashitu Secondary School project has been seen from the very beginning in a broader context with the inclusion of sustainability principles. The aim of the project is to provide quality education and improve the overall standard of living in the Kashitu area, to encourage environmentally friendly development and to expand business opportunities in the locality.
Compulsory secondary school fees are unaffordable for orphans and children from low-income families. If such a child is talented, his/her tuition fees will be covered by the fees of several children from higher income families.
Simple school construction technology using local and affordable materials.
Production of bricks with innovative technology can lead to new business opportunities in the locality.
The use of mainly local renewable materials is environmentally friendly.
Collecting rainwater and treating it to drinking water quality saves natural resources and helps prevent health risks.
The school is run by the local community with the support of volunteers from Europe and a solidarity approach in payment of school fees for children from higher income families.
Properly designed water management, building ventilation and lighting leads to reduced operating costs and conservation of natural resources.
The quality of the school environment leads to improved learning outcomes, supports the healthy development of children and creates a positive relationship with the place.
The Land of Victoria Falls was for a long time Northern Rhodesia under the administration of Great Britain. In 1964 it became independent and became a presidential republic. Zambia is one of the developing countries, its industry is mainly based on mining and processing of natural resources. Most of the agricultural land is dependent on rainfall and its cultivation is characterised by a lack of mechanisation.
HIV and malaria remain major problems in Zambia. Approximately 16 000 people die of HIV each year and approximately 2 000 people succumb to malaria each year. Other health problems are caused by the lack of access to potable water.
752 614 km2
18 400 000
Population (estimate 2020)
People living below the poverty line (2015)
Average age (2018)
Number of ethnic groups
$ 4 200
GDP per capita (2019)
Primary education is available for 90% of Zambian children. It is free of charge and it lasts 7 years. Private, state, or community schools are available in Zambia. It is common to travel long distances to school in rural areas.
Secondary education is available for only 25% of the population. Tuition together with school location in large cities are two main reasons for low secondary education availability.
Financial reasons are the main cause of very low university education availability. There are 3 colleges and several universities in Zambia. Tuition has to be paid at all universities.
Zambia is located in the centre of the African continent in sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the country is located on a plateau with an altitude of over 1 100 m above sea level.
Between November and April, almost all the year's precipitation falls and average daily temperatures range between 20-25°C. The period from May to August is cool and almost without rainfall. This period is followed by a sharp rise of temperatures during September and October, but again with almost no precipitation.
Due to the nearness of the equator, day length is approximately the same throughout the year. The hottest month of the year is October, when the average daily temperature reaches up to 30°C, while the coldest month is July with an average daily temperature of around 11°C. The prevailing winds throughout the year are from the east at around 3 m/s.
Traditional architecture in rural areas of Zambia is determined by climatic conditions and way of life, characterised by small detached houses, each with its own specific function. One family usually has two houses for sleeping, one for cooking and one separate toilet, and sometimes pets have their own house.
Insaka, the house designed for cooking, is the place for family life and welcoming guests. The building is usually round in plan, partially open, with a space for an open fireplace in the centre. The wall of the insaka is made of unburnt bricks and wooden profiles, and the space is usually covered by a reed roof.
The most well-maintained houses have a square plan, small windows and are intended for sleeping, the walls of which are made of unburnt bricks and plastered with clay. The roof is of reed, and occasionally corrugated iron can be seen instead of reed.
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