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Three Winning Schemes Reinvent the African Mud Hut

The Nka Foundation recently challenged young graduates and students of architecture to redesign the African mud hut for Ghana. The result, three designs received top honors for being both functional and beautiful, and will now be realized through a series of building workshops that you can participate in. Learn more and check out the winning designs, after the break.

How to Re-Invent the African Mud Hut

It’s not often that a project requires you to bulk up on your haggling skills.

Then again, it’s not often that a project requires you to re-invent the African Mud Hut either. But that was exactly the task presented to Karolina and Wayne Switzer, participants of the Nka Foundation’s “10x10 Shelter Challenge” to design and build a 10 by 10 feet shelter deep in the heart of Ghana. 

The pair, who just completed their project this month, were dependent upon the local community to make the shelter a reality, and had to learn early on how to communicate with the locals - not just to negotiate prices for materials and labor, but to overcome the local stigma associated with mud architecture (usually only used by the very poor). 

The result was a contemporary, durable shelter built with a construction method inspired by local tradition: the pounding of the fufu root, a diet staple for the community, which uncannily paralleled the pounding of fresh soil into the forms. Hence the local’s name for the structure: “Obruni fufu” (white man’s fufu). 

If you’re interested in getting involved in the 10x10 Challenge (open to students and graduates of design, architecture, art, or engineering, until October 2013), check out the Nka Foundation’s website, www.nkafoundation.org, or email at info@nkafoundation.org 

Full description of the project, after the break....

Ghana: Nka Foundation announces 10X10 Shelter Challenge

The Nka Foundation has announced a new competition, open to all students and graduates of design, architecture, art, engineering and schools interested in rural community projects in Africa, that is a design-build challenge at the Abetenim Arts Village near Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.  The 10×10 Shelter Challenge is an on-site competition structured as a “design-build camp for learning-by-doing” in African Architecture.  There are no fixed deadlines with 5 available month long periods to sign up,  the first beginning this October, 2012. Join us after the break for more details on this unique competition.

Accra Twin Towers / Frederico Valsassina Arquitectos

The present proposal for the Accra Twin Towers by Frederico Valsassina Arquitectos occupies a central position in relation to the urban design of the city of Accra. It has a place in a regular small sized plot, located on Liberia Road, near the British Council. The scale of the urban mesh on which it is inserted stands from the density of the suburban construction that surrounds this central area of the city which underlines a privileged treatment of the spaces. In this sense, as a major action, with an ambitious program, it was understood that the planned object should take advantage of all these constraints in order to be able to assume an emblematic role in the urban and architectonic context of the city. More images and architects’ description after the break.

New Land Commission Building / ATENASTUDIO + CITYFÖRSTER + 3TI Italia S.p.A.


Italian architects ATENASTUDIO, along with CITYFÖRSTER and 3TI Italia S.p.A. shared with us their winning proposal for the New Land Comission Building Competition in Accra, Ghana. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Arts Village / Mihai Dorcu, Stefan Padurariu & Vlad Burclacu

art center view 01
art center view 01

The goal for the design of a model arts village in Ghana, Africa was to be easily built from local materials and local labor at a low cost with a budget of $42,000-$62,000. For final year students, Mihai Dorcu, Stefan Padurariu and Vlad Burlacu, their challenge was to provide a comfortable and multi-use space for the international arts community in the rural part of the country. They would go on to achieve this by tapping into local resources for sustainable development to integrate art into architecture for a more sustainable future. More images and description after the break.

OS House Competition proposal / Andrea Morri

Courtesy of Andrea Morri
Courtesy of Andrea Morri

Italian architect Andrea Morri shared with us his proposal in collaboration with Ing. Massimo Maioli for the OS House Competition. The project is an innovative and sustainable concept for housing in Ghana. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Open Source House Design Competition

The creators of Sustainable Dance Club and Hybrid Tuktuk present a new Wow! project – Open Source House. The design competition starts on January 15th, 2010 and is open for team or individual participation. The challenge is to design a sustainable, flexible and locally embedded one family house for a specific location in Ghana. The modular construction should be suitable for local implementation and affordable for its future owners. The winning design(s) will be built in Ghana.