Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc.

Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc.

Stanley Saitowitz
Natoma Architects Inc.

Water Tank Library

Muthuini, Kenya

Mithuini School sits on a magnificent hilltop in the north of Kenya. Once a dairy farm, some of the buildings are original sheds, others newer classrooms arranged to form a large central court, edged by a huge tree. Beyond the tree is the original circular water tank, now disused. This project converts the water tank into the library working with Nobelity, an Austin based organization who have been assisting build the school for some years.

Traditional African architecture began with the circle. Later the square was introduced. The project follows this history, a square emerging from the circle. A stair outside the tank connects from the ground to a square mezzanine, with a central void and spiral stair down to the circular space below. Four walls of books emerge from the bottom of the tank to support the roof. These walls of books hold up the library. In the space between the books and tank are reading carols. The central void is a reading room on two levels. The roof is pitched to a central drain to collect water and fill another smaller tank beyond. All new construction is lightweight steel and glass.