VILLAGE HEALTH WORKERS STAFF HOUSING IN BURUNDI BY LOUISE BRAVERMAN ARCHITECTS

An interesting Rural Housing Project for Health workers in Kigutu, Burundi by Louise Braverman Architects combines Landscape design and Architecture in a contemporary yet traditional manner, fusing “East African elemental aesthetics” with “inventive off-the-grid sustainability”.

Heres the description,

Cutting a skewed line in the terrain and running parallel with the contours of the earth, the residence is sited to capture the breathtaking mountain views. The first in a series of new buildings by architect Louise Braverman, the residence uses the power of design to create a model for the sustainable future of both the community and the country. 

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To encourage the Kigutu indigenous outdoor communal culture, the over-sized porch doors will seamlessly connect the inside and out, welcoming all who enter into a series of public living spaces. Similarly, the ten double private sleeping rooms, each with its own personal, vividly colored entry porch, echo this semi-permeable sensibility. The porosity of the porches will encourage sociability, enhance air flow into the adjacent sleeping rooms, and frame magnificent unobstructed views of the landscape beyond.

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The same elemental design that establish the structure’s aesthetics will also advance its sustainability. Since the Kigutu community is 100% off the municipal grid, the residence will be powered exclusively by a solar farm, capturing all of its required energy from the sun. The building will literally grow out of the landscape. Sited partially below grade and in alignment with the contours of the earth, the location of the building will both reduce excavation costs and take advantage of the earth’s natural insulation for temperature control. In order to further embrace the notion of low environmental impact, the personal porches will create three-sided natural ventilation within the sleeping rooms, eliminating the need for energy-intensive air conditioning. The extended roof overhangs will provide solar protection to optimize the use of natural daylight, while cisterns will capture rainwater for irrigation. And the greatest efficiency will be the human efficiency, for the members of the community will use locally produced, high-thermal-mass insulating bricks and indigenous stone to manually build the residence, negating the need for fuel-consuming machines and creating transferable job training skills for members of the entire Kigutu community. 

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