Interdisciplinary team's school design to
be constructed in small Honduran town


Construction on a secondary school, designed by an interdisciplinary student team from Texas A&M's College of Architecture, is slated to begin in Santa Rosa, Honduras during the 2010 winter break.

Global Brigades, a California-based, student-led global health and sustainable development organization, sponsored the school design contest won by a 13-student Aggie design team that makes up the Texas A&M Chapter of Global Architecture Brigades. GAB chapters work on collaborative design/build projects in Latin America that are identified by the Global Brigades staff.

Citizens of Santa Rosa, a small town about two hours east of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, chose the Texas A&M design over entries submitted from competing GAB chapters at universities across the nation, including the University of Southern California, the University of Virginia, the University of Illinois and the University of Texas.

The student teams were challenged to design a school and community center to accommodate seventh, eighth and ninth grade students from Santa Rosa and 13 surrounding communities.

The design program called for three classrooms, each holding 35-45 students, a library, offices, a kitchen, cafeteria, spaces for meetings, workshops and celebrations and covered and open exterior spaces.

Students were also asked to design a building that would be distinctive from others in Santa Rosa to draw students' interest and attention, as well as create an incentive for students to attend and graduate from a unique and inspiring structure.

The winning team from Texas A&M listed three design goals in its entry (2.9M PDF):

  • flexibility — creating a campus that that can adapt to accommodate a range of uses, serving as a facility that is more than a school, but a community gathering ground;
  • contextually appropriate — utilizing passive cooling techniques, maximizing natural lighting, and embracing locally available construction materials and techniques to create a design that complements its environment; and
  • interactive learning environment — creating shaded, unprogrammed spaces and maximizing views to the outdoors, allowing students to learn through interaction with their surroundings.

"The citizens loved our idea to break up the building structure to create breezeways for cooling," said Southern Ellis, a member of the Texas A&M GAB Chapter team. "They also liked our idea of creating a flexible classroom that could transition into a larger community space."

Ten members of the winning Texas A&M team will travel to Honduras Jan. 9-15 to help launch the school's construction. To make a donation for their trip expenses or learn more about their project entry, visit

"This effort has provided students of all disciplines in the college the opportunity to work together and learn from each other in a real and truly meaningful project," said Ellis.

To view a list of participating Texas A&M students, see slide two of the team’s entry (2.9 M PDF).

Photos of the project’s construction, updated as it progresses, are being uploaded to an online album.


- Posted: Nov. 30, 2010 -

— the end —

Contact:   Phillip Rollfing, or 979.458.0442.


Click on images
for slideshow

See overview of
Aggie GAB entry

(2.9MB PDF).

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