The school before the collapse. (Photo: 準建築人手札網站 Forgemedia/CC BY 2.0)

Nigeria’s Makoko Floating School, an experimental three-story schoolhouse, has collapsed under the stress of a severe rainstorm, according to Reuters.

The three-story, A-frame building was first constructed in 2013 as model for new building techniques that could be used in places like the sprawling Lagos neighborhood of Makoko, where most of the buildings rest on stilts above the shallow Lagos Lagoon. Prior to the creation of the floating school, local kids only had access to a single school, built on solid ground, that was constantly flooded. The floating school was built out of local materials, and was designed to float on hundreds of plastic barrels to keep it above the fluctuating water level. The actual classrooms were located on the second and third floors, giving them a measure of extra protection as well.

Winning multiple awards for sustainable innovation, the building was used for around three years before it was decommissioned in March, with plans to upgrade the structure to an even better design. But after heavy rains battered the school earlier this week, the building (as well as a number of other nearby huts) collapsed. 

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the collapse, and in a statement, the floating school’s architects said that while the loss of the building was unfortunate, it served its purpose as a proof of concept, and they look forward to building a better version.