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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

EL JICARITO SCHOOL in Tipitapa, Nicaragua by knitknot architecture

October 24th, 2017 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: knitknot architecture

EL JICARITO SCHOOL is an innovative low-cost school design that brings a community together through collaborative construction methods and local materials, and that creates educational spaces that enhance creativity.

knitknot architecture has partnered with the local NGO Seeds of Learning to build a two-classroom school prototype for kindergarten and elementary school students. The school will include two classrooms, a multipurpose space, and a public square/playground. The aim is to explore new construction systems, such as the earth bag or super adobe, that take into account the complex internal dynamics of the communities in which the project is implemented. In other words, this project is to be understood not only as a building, but as a piece of infrastructure that takes into account technical developments but also socio-economic contextual realities.

Image Courtesy © knitknot architecture

  • Architects: knitknot architecture
  • Location: Tipitapa, Nicaragua
  • Project year: 2016

Image Courtesy © knitknot architecture

We propose a two-sided concept:

Learning FROM the building

Learning IN the building

That is, the school becomes a place to learn, but also a building that can be used as a prototype to push the limits of their current constructions:


Construction systems as a learning process for the community

The project proposes the use of materials and building systems that start from those used previously by Seeds Of Learning in other existing buildings (known and accepted by the community) and introduces new earth-based systems so that the community begins to get acquainted and learn to work with them.Thus, the building itself is a process of experimentation and learning for the community, the systems they learn can be applied in other buildings in the near future (housing, warehouses …)

Image Courtesy © knitknot architecture

Image Courtesy © knitknot architecture


The classroom space beyond four walls and a roof

The school as a public space: The school becomes the public square for the community. An open space defined by two of the facades of school that work as a meeting point, event space, playground…The classrooms are conceived as flexible spaces, in order to stimulate and promote interactive teaching and classes with different formats. The structure and use of materials creates a range from specific classroom spaces and defined according to age groups, to open spaces that add up to the square.

Image Courtesy © knitknot architecture

Image Courtesy © knitknot architecture


Nicaragua is one of the countries with less educational resources in Latin America, with hundreds of small communities in need of social and educational infrastructure. The NGO Seeds of Learning has been working in the country for over 25 years, dedicated to enriching the country’s future through an effort focused on improving educational resources.

Seeds of Learning has built over 200 classrooms throughout the country using commercial materials such as concrete blocks and steel roofs. These construction methods, however, involve bringing large amounts of industrialized materials and specialized labor off site, often making it unaffordable for the villages. Also, because of lack of resources, these buildings have very basic designs, frequently inefficient and inadequate for a school.

Image Courtesy © knitknot architecture

Image Courtesy © knitknot architecture


El Jicarito is a tiny village located in the municipality of Tipitapa, north of the country capital, Managua. Is a rural community with 250 residents who mostly work as farmers, and the 27 kids currently don’t have a school. The kids receive classes in a makeshift hut as a temporary solution, since the nearest primary school is a 1.5 kilometers walk, and the road becomes impassable during the rainy season. As a result, many children either do not attend school or drop out before completion of 6th grade.

  • Knitknot Architecture [design architect]

Knitknot architecture is an international collective of architects, urban planners, artists and thinkers based in London, Los Angeles and New York, that aims to explore new ways to approach the architectural practice in a more open and critical way. We believe architecture goes beyond the built project, and different itineraries such as research, critical writing or development of projects that address social, cultural and economic issues are required to re-conceptualize the role of the architect as social agent.

Image Courtesy © knitknot architecture

Image Courtesy © knitknot architecture

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