Home Architecture How we design beautiful sustainable homes for everyone

How we design beautiful sustainable homes for everyone

Several beautiful sustainable homes are currently under construction in and near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – West Africa. NDFK designs these houses as pilots for a ‘sustainable knowledge shop’ that will be available in June 2022, and that will also include free designs and tips. How do we design these buildings?

Zero energy house

One of the construction techniques we use is called Nubian Vault, which is an ancient technique from Egypt. The roofs are vaults. The Nubian vault masons use sun dried mud bricks to build these vaults. This way we don’t need to use scarce wood, expensive cement and steel. An added bonus is that earth is much better for the environment than using wood, cement and steel. In fact, our buildings are naturally almost zero energy because they are built with muscles and earth only! There are two other types of earth building we use, read more here: Three Earth building types

Nubian Vault / Voûte Nubienne

An association in Burkina Faso promotes the Nubian vault building method, and assists in training masons to become master builders. The association is ‘l’association la Voûte Nubienne’. www.lavoutenubienne.org Niek Kramer, the founder of NDFK worked for one year with this organisation as a technical architect in Boromo in Burkina Faso. The pilot we’re doing now shows the needs and requirements of people living in cities in West Africa. These cities are growing at an enormous speed. For example Ouagadougou is growing at a rate of over 6% per year. This city growth happens mostly in large residential neighborhoods or ‘lotissements’. There, the plots are sold to individuals, who decide themselves how to build their house. Many of those people would like to use sustainable building methods, but they don’t know where to start.

NDFK wants to help exactly these people. By providing cheap access to high quality sustainable designs, more and more people will have the right tools to build responsible houses, that are also more comfortable and cheaper.

Design is a collaboration between designer and client

One fun thing that is possible when you build an earth house, is that you don’t need to follow the drawings exactly. The owner of the house below, decided halfway the construction process that he wanted a completely circular window for his bedroom. Maybe it was not the the architect’s personal preference, but the design process is a collaborative process. So the client got the circular window of course. There is no room for an arrogant architect!

Are you interested to hear more about this project, or do you want information to have your own sustainable home? Then you can drop us a message here and we’ll get back to you !

Also check out our post about all types of sustainable building methods.

nubian vault design
the proposed design
Nubian vault house under construction
2 vaults and the stairs are finished
Sustainable adobe vault under construction, with laterite block outer wall

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