Orkidstudio - The Build.

Orkidstudio provides high quality, affordable and efficient end-to-end design and construction services that promote health, education and equality. They focus on the ‘process’ of design and construction as much as the final product, leveraging opportunities for local employment, education and women in construction.

They believe everyone has the right to good design and access to healthy, inspiring and dignified spaces. Their projects focus on the process of construction rather than just the final product. They believe this process is a powerful tool for affecting social change and empowering people through the sharing of skills and knowledge on site. 

Building collectively brings communities together, supports local economic growth, empowers, instils pride, and leaves a legacy that reaches far beyond final completion.



I assisted in the design and delivery of a new girls school for the Swawou School Foundation in Kenema, Sierra Leone. I acted as Site and Project Manager in partnership with a Site Architect and supported by a volunteer Supplies Co-ordinator. Between the three of us we hired local labour, trained them in how to build with masonry to produce the external shell and structure of the new school. Unfortunately work had to be put on hold four weeks from completion due to the outbreak of Ebola. This left the building sitting for two years before a second team could return to finish the building. The end result is a beautiful school that the community are really proud of and help to upkeep, and a bright future for the girls of the Swawou Layout in Kenema, Sierra Leone.

If you want to learn about the teaching aspect of this project in more detail, please visit the Teach Page.


All photos courtesy of Swawou School Foundation and Peter Dibdin Photography.

The Process

Photos courtesy of Paul Elliot, Spencer Fretwell, Ahmed Jaward, Swawou School Foundation, Orkidstudio and photographer Peter Dibdin.