Nka Foundation invites entries for Mud House Design 2014, an international architecture competition open to recent graduates and students of architecture, design and others from around the world who think earth architecture can be beautiful. Registration and submission of entries run from March 15, 2014 until August 31, 2014. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.nkafoundation.org
The challenge is to design a single-family unit of about 30 x 40 feet on a plot of 60 x 60 feet to be built by maximum use of earth and local labor in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The client of your design is the middle-income family in any township of your choice in the Ashanti Region. Total costs of constructing the design entry must not exceed $6,000; land value is excluded from this price point. The entry should serve as an example to the local people that mud architecture can be beautiful and durable.
What is the design problem? The cause is this: in Ghana, as in other countries in West Africa, stereotypes about buildings made of earth persist because of poor construction. Earth architecture is fast giving way to modern dwellings made of cement blocks and other modern materials that are not simply expensive but thermally and acoustically problematic. From the cities to the low-income villages, use of concrete – despite its dependence on imported resources – is considered indispensable for building. The rising cost of the modern building materials manufactured from imported resources makes it very difficult for low-income families to become homeowners. Yet an excellent, cheap and local alternative called laterite, red earth, is available everywhere in Ghana.
For example, in the Abetenim area, 98% of the homes are made of earth, however local stereotypes about buildings made of earth persist because there are several examples of mud homes that have eroded over time due to poor construction and water damage. That is why there is local stigma associated with mud architecture. The local perception is that mud buildings are only for the very poor. We reason that a design intervention can help generate alternatives to resolve the problem.
In light of the problem, we are running Mud House Design Competition to encourage designers, architects and builders to use their creativity to come up with innovative designs for modest, affordable homes that can be built locally. The design should aim at creating a single family and semi-urban house type that is a place to live, a place to rest, store modest belongings, and feel safe. The first place winning entry will be built on a site in the Ashanti Region.
What is the preferred construction method for the winning entries? The method to be used to construct your design concept can be cob construction, rammed earth, mud brick, cast earth (poured earth) by formwork, or any other earth construction techniques that can be easily learned by local labor. Roofing design could be of vault, fired mud roof, or corrugated zinc sheets, which is the conventional roofing materials because zinc roofing stands the heavy rainfall better. Your design entry may therefore aim to accomplish a prototype, a durable mud house that promotes open source design for the continuity of building with earth under the feet for a more sustainable future.
Undeniably, the competition promotes open source design, as a sustainable development model. By Open Source, we imply that the submitted designs will be available for all to appreciate, use, or improve them to generate more practical and contemporary design solutions for the region. The long-term goal is to enable the Ghanaian population and lots of other places, to overcome the stigma that mud architecture is architecture for the very poor.
For additional information, see the press release: http://www.prlog.org/12288229 and the registration page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mud-house-design-competition-tickets-10697036123
Join us! Make your name known. Show the world how to reinvent the African mud house!
Registration Deadline: Friday, August 15, 2014.
Submission Deadline: Sunday, August 31, 2014.
Competition website: Visit website