About the project

ABOUT THE LANKA LEARNING CENTER
An Education and Meeting Centre in Parangiyamadu (District Kiran), Sri Lanka


The idea for an Education and Meeting Centre originated through a cooperation with the
aid organisation S.T.E.P.S. of forgiveness e.V. from Greifswald, and its partner organisation
People Helping People Foundation from Sri Lanka and the Institut für Raumkonzeptionen
und Grundlagen des Entwerfens
(Prof. Markus Allmann) of the university Stuttgart.

The goal was to create a place where disadvantaged children of different ethnic and religious
affiliations can come together through various communal educational and sporting activities,
and thus to make a better future possible.

The essential departure point for the development of the Centre was an interdisciplinary place
study with a workshop in Sri Lanka organised and carried out by the students with 80 participants.
Those involved – such as children and youths, parents, teachers as well as representatives
from the educational system and representatives of all resident religions – had the opportunity to
express their views and wishes for the Lanka Learning Centre in open working groups.

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The result is a Centre, constituting a mix of school, job-centre, adult education, and community
centre. The following activity rooms and operations should be made possible:

for children – a fee offer of educational advancement, sports area for different sports uses.

for youths / young adults – state accredited career courses and life orientation advice

for parents – psychological help and adult educational classes for widows and single women

for all – cross community peace work across all barriers of society and a yearly childrens festival
with approx. 2500 children from all denominations and ethnicities from the whole of Sri Lanka.

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The site of the Lanka Learning Centre is situated about 2km from the eastern Sri Lankan coastline.
All buildings are located around a circular central courtyard, which acts as a room of open
possibilities (playspace, event area, fairground) in the middle of the conglomeration. A continuous
wall marks the spatial boundary, creating a linear interplay of internal rooms to the inside with
interstitial spaces outside, and generates a protective enclosure for the whole complex.

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The methods of construction take local possibilities into account and connect with the learned
knowledge of the craftsmen. A concrete frame construction with continuous ring beams provides
the necessary earthquake protection and forms a secure framework for the infill of traditionally
produced brickwork. Robust, locally sourced building materials make a fundamental contribution
to a practical and sustainable compound, where no large follow-up costs are entailed. Building
elements should be easily repaired or replaced without requiring previous knowledge.

In order to optimise the climatic precondition, the whole building complex is kept as open and
porous as possible. Special ventilation openings in the walls are generously proportioned with lamellae
and all roofs raised with as large a clearance as possible to the external walls, thus maximising air
circulation throughout the building.

The building process itself will be completely and exclusively executed through the local infrastructure,
so that as much of the investment as possible can reach the workers on site.

The  building will estimated to be finished in July 2015.
A little impression about the completed building in that previews:

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S.T.E.P.S. of forgiveness e.V. and People Helping People Foundation

“S.T.E.P.S. of forgiveness “e.V. and the “People Helping People Foundation” are closely
cooperating non-governmental sister organizations who work in particular for the support of children,
youth and women.
The organizations pursue their activities in a non-partisan and religiously neutral way and thereby are
supported by state authorities. The concept of S.T.E.P.S. of forgiveness eV and the
People Helping People Foundation is based on the following principles:

– Overcoming the ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese and Tamils
– Working together with all ethnic, religious and political groups
– School education for all children, special remedial programs for children from needy families
– Encouragement of women and empowerment through education and employment as teachers
– Support for the essentials: school supplies for children from needy families
– Teaching both ethnic languages to facilitate communication between the ethnic groups

The main goals of S.T.E.P.S. of forgiveness are to support the trend towards rapprochement of the
ethnic groups, especially among the younger generation and to strengthen the position and social
recognition of women in Sri Lanka by promoting their professional career. The concern of the
architectural project is to create a comfortable and secure environment, a “common ground”, where
prejudices are removed and friendships are made across social boundaries.  A peaceful coexistence
and mutual trust between the ethnic groups is the foundation for a successful future of the country.

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