Architecture Students To Build A Wind & Solar-Powered Radio Station in Kenya

Dean's List, East, International
Thursday, April 18, 2013
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Jonathan Dessi-Olive with the first arch of his timbrel vault prototype. (Courtesy PennDesign Team)

University of Pennsylvania architecture student Jonathan Dessi-Olive, this year’s winner of the Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) Travel Fellowship, and three of his colleagues are taking an ancient building technology to Kenya this summer to demonstrate a sustainable alternative to wood construction, which contributes to the devastating deforestation problem in the region. The project, a hybrid wind- and solar-powered radio station on Mfangano Island in Lake Victoria, will introduce local craftspeople to the 600-year-old technique of timbrel vaulting, a system that uses thin clay tiles to create a geometrically-complex and structurally strong building.

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