How ClassAct is redesigning post-disaster classrooms in PH

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Aug 06 2014 06:22 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2014 02:22 AM

An alternative classroom designed by ClassAct

NEW YORK - Filipino-Australian Aya Maceda and her team of architects are redesigning and reinventing post-disaster classrooms in Bohol, Philippines using the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter.

"I think all Filipinos around the world have this kind of relentless love for the country and I am fortunate to have had like amazing training abroad and I'm always finding a way to give back," said Maceda, design advocate and co-founder of ClassAct Foundation.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda destroyed more than a thousand classrooms in Bohol, Philippines in 2013, and about 15,000 students are still attending unstable makeshift classrooms today.

ClassAct is a foundation whose vision is to rebuild schools, not only rebuild schools in the Philippines but actually create a new type of educational structure for marginalized areas of the country, the prototype is called an "active school", a totally redesigned replacement for destroyed classrooms.

The group is bringing together craftsman, designers and engineers to build stronger and more resilient schools using only local construction methods.

"You have a concrete foundation, concrete walls and then on top of it have this massive bamboo shell that can kind of move with the wind. It's like you have two layers of structure that protect the classroom with it," Maceda explained.

The architects said the design is modeled after the traditional Filipino "veranda" or open living spaces – giving the notion that a place of learning has no fixed boundaries.

"In Maribojoc, we are using bamboo in collaboration with the Bamboo sa Kulabo, and SGH engineers in New York, screens by a Filipino designer, Kenneth Cobonpue and woven partitions," she said.

To date, ClassAct: Active School Kickstarter has raised more than $25,000 through crowdfunding, just $5,000 short to build a second classroom, and to be able to raise more than $50,000 mean a third classroom can be built.

"This project is a very tangible way, transparent way to see where your money is exactly going. You can see the school being built. We provide updates all the time," said Erin Peterson Hou, US Project Manager for ClassAct Foundation.

Maceda added, "If we have this prototype that can be replicated in all the typhoon Haiyan affected areas, that means we're gonna be creating a few schools around the whole Visayas region."

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