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African House Design Competition

The project proposal is the response to a call for tenders launched by the archstorming platform. The subject of the competition was the design of a house for a growing family of 15 people. Specifically, the request was to have an open but private space, an internal kitchen with pantry and an open space annex for the external kitchen, a large living room and bedrooms that could accommodate no more than three beds.

The extreme climatic conditions of Africa, the difficulty of procuring materials and the lack of funds for construction are all elements that the proposed construction technology solves. All the shapes proposed come from a modified Nubian compass which, according to an accurate design, allows freedom of architectural expression by generating different types of domes. Today, the ease of learning of the technological system accessible to all, means that the whole system is a full part of self-construction technologies for a new social model, based on respect and collaboration: as between bricks, so between individuals . The use of solid materials gives the construction a thermal inertia suitable to confer the necessary comfort. The curved walls favor the internal convective motions ensuring the perfect functioning of the chimney effect. This effect is also enhanced by the use of some small ventilation tower on the upper part of the domes which is closed by an aluminum panel that allows the hot air to escape. The natural shading of the courtyard, the optional external plasters (clay-earth plaster or cocciopesto) guarantee further comfort. Furthermore, natural lighting no longer occurs only in the usual directions; here it is received, collected, channeled into every necessary point. The chosen location avoids demolishing existing houses immediately to use them in the construction phase, so it can be done more slowly, according to economic possibilities. The house will have a portion close to the passage area of ​​the neighborhood and a more intimate portion at the back, bounded by the existing tree and by a perforated wall next to which to place the cattle. The central courtyard is a space for an open but private environment that contributes to the natural ventilation and cooling of the whole house. The key word is "flexibility". The house can be built according to separate construction phases, guaranteeing its functional autonomy. The partition inside the double rooms maintains privacy despite the numerous beds. Kitchen and utility room have double access and outside there is a kitchen area, next to the livestock. The living room, which can be extended using the courtyard during ceremonies, has a direct exit to the outside. The toilets are discharged into the dispersion pit (compost toilet optional), with the water falling from a tank placed on the cylinder and covered by a black cloth that attracts the sun's rays to have hot water. The domes are made entirely of fired bricks 30x18x8cm resting on stone foundations.


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