Submitted Entries: 1st List Sept 5, 2014 8:15:15 GMT -6
Post by Nka on Sept 5, 2014 8:15:15 GMT -6
“The Good Life” is by Ghana’s middle class conceived as a ‘villa’
Originally a western dream this has been exported to most of the world with troublesome consequences. In tropical developing countries this often resolves in poorly build concrete houses un-adapted to the local climate. The inhabitants have not been able to afford large enough windows, air-condition and proper furniture, resulting in horrible climatic and health conditions. Still the dream of the western villa persists. It is a dream of literally showing the world that “I made it” on the front façade. What people do not dream, of but end up living in, is round houses and compound houses. These are not conceived as modern.
‘Axis’ acknowledges the wish of a prestigious façade and at the same time reinterprets the traditional courtyard house into a suburban context with separating barriers and fences around the plot. By distinguishing between more and less costly wall materials it allows to build a beautiful front and a living room with high ceilings within a limited budget. Subsequently the cheaper facades on the back can be changed into better and more durable solutions.
Also by creating an ‘L’-shaped cast for the rammed earth a thinner wall can be obtained, reducing costs and thermal capacity. Good thermal comfort leaves to more probability for the inhabitant to put up a mosquito net at night, and hence reduce vector borne infections. To obtain a good inner climate each room in the house is slim, it allows for cross ventilation, it has large eaves, the thermal mass on the southern wall is reduced, and in the bedrooms a metal ceiling with a ventilated space above isolates from radiating heat.
‘Axis’ appreciates the Ghanaian social norm by allowing various levels of privacy. Also it enables both a formal front yard as well as a backyard of a more practical and private character. It embodies the transition between tradition and future. Fully modulated it is a versatile system capable of adapting to any site, functional need and economical limitation. On its front façade it celebrates mud as an innovative material that through its low cost allows for a better, healthier and more beautiful manifestation of a new African building culture!