Co Author: José Forjaz
Text description provided by the architects. Aldeia Solar is located in the Comuna of Cabiri about 50km from Luanda, not far from Lake Lalama, along the national road 110 (Luanda-Funda-Catete).
More than a settlement and housing for about 500 low-income families, it is intended to ensure for a farming community some self-sufficiency in the about 100 available hectares, while respecting the fertile landscape of lemon grass punctuated by multiple baobabs, trees sacred in Africa.
The line of the ridge, optimizing orograhy and the extension of the terrain, creates an infrastructural central spine, distributor and equipped, that provides for the community spaces - school, community center, job center, health center, market - between the water tower in the northeast limit, to the highest allotment, and the playing fields, highlighted, in the northwest limit.
Then, this new avenue adds twelve neighborhood units, low rise, with houses, attached farms (each division amounts to approximately 210m² for agricultural and livestock activities) and common farmyards - created to safeguard the baobab trees - that deliver distinct identities. Fed by Lake Lalama, the water tower directs the water by gravity to each reservoir associated with each housing unit, providing a water supply and irrigation.
Energetically autonomous, the houses guarantee 3 to 5 rooms, with kitchen countertop and covered exterior toilet facilities, with possible flexibility. For circumstantial reasons, it was not possible to use earth blocks in the houses or for their self-construction. Still, at very controlled costs, a built environment fit for use and location was obtained.
Designed in partnership with the Mozambican architect José Forjaz, the Aldeia Solar worked beyond the best expectations, integrated into the landscape, suitable for the purpose, anchoring a new rural community and delivering a better life to many people.