An Evaluation Of Prototype Design For Different Users/Functions In Educational Buildings


I am grateful to God the most merciful and the most beneficent for making it possible for this research work to be completed, and it is achieved through valuable advises and assistance by many people. Therefore I wish to acknowledge some few of the many people who have helped in seeing to its completion. I wish to express my appreciation and gratitude to my supervisor, Dr A. I. Alkali under whose guidance and advice that this research essay was completed. His corrections and suggestions have greatly helped particularly the speed which he always responded to my submissions was really amazing given his numerous schedules. Thank you most sincerely and may Allah continue to give you good health to continue with your good work to humanity. My thanks and appreciation also goes to all my lectures at the Department of Architecture for shaping my thoughts to attain this academic height. Thank you all and I pray to Allah to reward you all, Amin. My thanks and appreciation goes to my family and most especially to my parents whose direction and moral support right from childhood made me this height in academic pursuit. So also my, appreciation goes to siblings, Zahra, Mahmoud and Hafsat, so also my aunts and uncles for their motivation and support throughout my academic pursuit. I would also like to acknowledge my friends and colleagues through this journey; Anisa Sanusi Dauda, Sawda Abba and Ahmad Aliyu Muhammad.

Chapter One



Prototype in architecture is a term used to define the reuse of a building type or building design. Prototypes have acquired certain prominence and visibility in recent times. The idea of prototyping in architecture has been in existence for a while but until recently, it has been used primarily to test and refine elements of buildings, mainly during construction or the aesthetics. Currently, built prototypes are used to enhance environmental performance and reduce risks which translate into reducing cost. Educational buildings usually have the same function; a space for learning. All stages of education from primary to tertiary use basic spaces which include classrooms, libraries, etc, therefore making a design pattern which could be used to generate a prototype.

Although the functions may look the same, tertiary education requires more spaces to fulfill its function. These spaces may range between different fields being taught. Prototype designs have widely been adapted under residential buildings but recently, educational buildings have started adapting the trend also. It has been adapted mostly in primary and secondary schools because of their similarities. Each design is done in a flexible manner which can be improved upon the next time another school is to be built. The contractors have an established record of cost and time needed which reduces a lot of risks, therefore making the construction easier and more effective. The question here is can this be adopted for tertiary educational facilities? This research is based on evidence found from existing prototype buildings in a university which will later reveal the suitability and efficiency of the practice of prototype in tertiary educational facilities.

Statement Of The Problem

Prototype design is a common feature of buildings in Bayero University, Kano. This can be seen in many buildings in the university, for instance, the Centre for Renewable Energy and the Centre for Dry Land Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture; the Administrative Block at the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Administrative Block at the Faculty of Law; and many more. The Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences is not an exception as Block J, which houses the Departments of Architecture, Estate Management and Quantity Survey, is a prototype of Block C, which houses the Departments of Urban and Regional Planning and Geography. Little is known of whether or not the compatibility of usage/functions of the two blocks.

Aim And Objectives

The aim of this research is to determine the suitability of the adopted prototype design for the Department of Architecture, Block J, Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Bayero University, Kano. The objectives are as follows: a. To study the configuration of the existing prototype design adapted for the building. b. To determine the suitability of the adopted design for the users of the building.


We see a prototype as a concrete representation of part or all of an interactive system. A prototype is a tangible artifact, not an abstract description that requires interpretation. Designers, as well as managers, developers, customers, and end users, can use these artifacts to envision and reflect on the final system (Beaudouin-Lafon & Mackay, 2012, p. 1007). Similarly, prototyping is seen as a practice, which operates in a test mode, which allows collaboration, and which allows bricolage (Guggenheim, 2014; Corsín Jimenez & Estalella 2010). Yang( 2005) reported that “Prototypes are also a means to communicate an idea to others (Kolodner & Wills, 1996; Schrage & Peters, 1999)”.

Historical Development Of Prototypes

Runberger (2008) stated that “Architecture is a field in which prototyping, in the sense of testing and collaborating, has a long history. Within this field, it has traditionally not been called prototyping, and prototyping only recently acquired this meaning within architecture”. Guggenheim (2014) also said prototyping appeared in architecture around the 1970s and created a great deal of confusion. He also stated that in architecture, prototype originally referred either to “original type” or “first”. He concluded by citing Hodges (1787) that “As a notion for the ‘original type’, namely the primitive hut, it is in use at least since the eighteenth century”.

Application Of Prototype In Housing

According to Sherwood (1978), in his book ‘Modern Housing Prototypes’, he stated: “The use of prototypes is especially useful in the design of housing because housing lends itself readily to systematic, typological study. Most building types, such as theaters, schools, factories, or even office buildings, have to respond to different programs and are rarely consistent and repetitive. Housing, because it consists of repeating units with a constant relation to vertical and horizontal circulation, can more logically be studied in terms of its typological variations. ” Some works have shown that prototypes in housing are usually done to solve mass housing issues (Loetterle, 2013), or to produce low-cost sustainable buildings for developing countries (Ademiluyi, 2010;Hansanuwat et al. , 2018)

Application Of Prototype In Institutional Buildings

According to Inoway, Frazier, Nuzum, & Preiss (1963), they stated that in 1606, Andreas Libavius in ”Alchymia” published a project for a complete chemical institute which, though never executed, is of particular interest as the earliest record of laboratory planning. His design where used as a prototype in universities in Europe and the United States. They added that the designs where even adopted when research laboratories emerged as a distinct building type after 1920. The U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) developed 16 reference building types that represent most commercial buildings across 16 locations, which represent all U. S. climate zones.

Application Of Prototype In Educational Buildings

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1989 published a newsletter ‘ UNESCO’s Educational Buildings and Furniture Program’ where they discussed on the type of educational building prototype to be built in different parts of the world where they have educational facilities units including Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok), Africa (Dakar), Arab States (Amman) and in Latin America and the Caribbean (Santiago). The prototypes include: earthquake resistant educational buildings for places in Asia and the Pacific and some parts of Africa including Senegal, Mozambique, Nepal, El Salvador, and Togo; typhoon resistant school buildings for places like Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Viet Nam, India, Bangladesh and China. In this case, prototypes where adapted based on the conditions of the environment in which they are to be built. According to Alaska State Legislature (2015), in “A Report on the Benefits and Disadvantages of Prototypical School Design and Construction in Alaska”, it stated in the report that – A prototype school design is any school plan that is repeated more than once using the original blueprint as the basis, with modifications largely confined to matters of differing site needs. The research was carried out on the 53 Alaska school districts to identifying common influences that impact the benefits or disadvantages of prototypical design and construction in Alaska.

15 April 2020
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