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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Social Housing
  4. Djibouti
  5. Urko Sanchez Architects
  6. 2014
  7. SOS Children's Village In Djibouti / Urko Sanchez Architects

SOS Children's Village In Djibouti / Urko Sanchez Architects

  • 05:00 - 10 September, 2015
SOS Children's Village In Djibouti / Urko Sanchez Architects
SOS Children's Village In Djibouti / Urko Sanchez Architects, © Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas

© Javier Callejas © Javier Callejas © Javier Callejas © Javier Callejas +32

  • Collaborators

    Estrella de Andrés, John Andrews
  • Type

  • Client

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© Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas

From the architect. Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa, which suffers from persistent droughts and severe scarcities. We were approached by SOS Kinderdorf to design a residential compound of 15 houses where to run their family-strengthening programmes.

Floor Plan
Floor Plan

We learnt about SOS systems, about the community where the project would take place, their nomadic traditions and the extreme climate of the region. We searched for traditional housing references in similar cultural and climatic environments and finally decided to design a MEDINA with certain singularities:

© Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas

A -  It is a medina for children – A safe environment, with no cars, where the narrow streets and squares become places to play
B - It is a medina with plenty of open spaces – Public and private spaces are clearly defined. And in the private, the inside and outside areas melt, allowing residents to maintain certain outdoors living.
C - It is a medina with lots of vegetation – Where the inhabitants are encouraged to take care of their plants and benefit from the result.

© Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas

In terms of distribution, all houses follow the same scheme but are arranged in different ways, placed close to each other giving shade one another and generating alleys between them in an apparent disordered way. Natural ventilation and sun shading was intensely studied, introducing natural ventilation towers where needed.

© Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas

The construction of this project was possible thanks to an international team, which reflects the mixture of backgrounds in the practice of our profession, making every project a very enriching experience.

- Dji Fu – Chinese Contractor based in Djibouti
- John Andrews – Ugandan Architect based in Djibouti
- Fritz Bachlechner – Austrian Project Manager based in Kenya
- Estrella de Andrés – Spanish Architect based in Kenya
- Oliver Kabure – Kenyan engineer based in Kenya
- And of course all the Djiboutian who worked on site.

© Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas

The funding came from the German Cooperation Aid. The materials were very simple: cement blocks, RC structure and Cemcrete finish from a South African company.

© Javier Callejas
© Javier Callejas
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "SOS Children's Village In Djibouti / Urko Sanchez Architects" 10 Sep 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Empress Kray Kray de 3rd · September 12, 2015

Where does the nomadic part apply now?

AuArchitecture Melbourne · September 10, 2015

Bravo- super thinking super result in the name of humanity. The wind catchers, the built form, textures, play of light and shade and simplicity strengthen families living in a community through excellent design

Hello · September 10, 2015

Beatiful, but it encourages an unnatural unafrican and unhealthy western lifestyle. A village in africa must answer the african way of life.

John Honeyman · September 10, 2015

Love the forms, the colours, and the spaces. The child inhabitants are the focus of the perfect background palette. The various painted doors throughout add accents of luscious colour. (I'm a grafiker not an architect).

pet · September 10, 2015 04:32 PM

nonetheless you right ;)

Weng Jen · September 10, 2015

Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

Dimitri · September 10, 2015

Amazing project, it looks like it was exported out of my dreams.

m... · September 10, 2015

Wow, this may be one of the best projects I've ever seen.

fva · September 10, 2015

One of the incredibly, unbelievably few projects that I can say is almost beautiful.

Boguslaw Witkowski · September 10, 2015

Very well integrated project. Congratulations!


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© Javier Callejas

吉布提SOS儿童村 / Urko Sanchez Architects