Empowerment Squared, a Canadian based charity founded by Liberian refugee Leo Nupolu Johnson, is leading the charge on building the first in his country, a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose educational facility. The Liberian Learning Center will be built in his former hometown of Paynesville where the ceremonial groundbreaking for the facility has taken place. The Liberian Learning Center is a direct response to some of the country’s most significant needs: educational infrastructure and resources. Its primary goal is to empower citizens in a country with one of the lowest literacy rates in the world; by providing relevant literacy and skills based education, Johnson believes livelihoods for the younger and therefore future generations will improve.
The Liberian Learning Center is a collaborative project led by Empowerment Squared, in partnership with Rotary International, Rotary Club of Hamilton, Rotary Club of Monrovia, Paynesville City Corporation, mcCallumSather and Hamilton Public Library. The Liberian Learning Center will be the first building built as part of a three-phase master plan and will include a library, coworking and business incubation spaces. Future phases include sports and recreation facilities, and event facilities.
Architects, designers and mechanical engineers at Canadian design firm mcCallumSather are leading an international integrated team to bring this vision to fruition. They will work closely with local consultants in Liberia to ensure smooth construction throughout the process; at all points of the design, sustainable principals have been incorporated. The building form is intentionally sculpted by the sun, wind and rain. The sloped roof forms a large, south facing armature which harvests solar energy and rainwater. Passive system solutions reduce energy usage and build inherent resilience to unreliable power, sanitary and clean water infrastructures. The center will have an enduring connection to its community, using local labour and materials, not only in the construction but throughout the building’s life.