Habitat Initiative Cabo Delgado, Mozambique
In the north of Mozambique eleven preschools and community centres were realised by local craftsmen using an innovative earth and bamboo construction system. The seven schools have a maximum span of 6 m and four more simple dwellings were completed in a system similar to that used locally. A training program was initiated that aimed to develop and strengthen the local building culture which is based on natural resources and simple handicraft techniques.
Objectives of the Aga Khan Foundation:
Habitat Initiative Cabo Delgado was founded for the purpose of creating more permanent housing solutions using local, natural building materials. Local construction methods were developed and improved upon in ways tailored to local craftsmens’ abilities; thus supporting the local “construction culture” and reinforcing village identity. The Aga Khan Foundation continues to support Cabo Delgado villages in the construction and operation of preschools, for which village communities receive no government assistance. Prototypes for the new building method have been erected around the region, in the form of eleven preschool buildings which can also be used as community and adult-education centres.
One Construction System – Eleven Schools, Two Building Types:
In order to combat deforestation, the construction system is designed to use as little wood as possible. Instead, the buildings are constructed using the earth-block method, which can also be found in the region. Roof constructions, doors, windows and other details are built of bamboo. Borax, a natural salt, is used to protect the materials against parasites. The foundations are made of rammed earth stabilised with 10% cement; stabilised earthen blocks are used above ground. Natural stone is used in the regions where it can be found. A PE-foil horizontal damp-proof course is laid on top of the foundation as protection against moisture rising from the subsoil. The walls are constructed using non-stabilised earthen blocks, which are formed by hand and then dried in the sun. Oil- or coconut-palm leaves are used to make roof coverings. These changes to the construction method have resulted in durable buildings which, if properly maintained, face no limitations
on their lifespans.
The Standard Type was developed in 25 de Junho as a prototype, and then built in six additional locations following some minor changes. To make the buildings equally suitable for use as normal schools and / or community activity centres, and to highlight the potential inherent in local materials, a beam spanning 6 metres was developed using the thin (3.5 to 5 cm – diameter) bamboo found in the region. Local craftsmen can create these beams over a simple dowelled joint or truss using ordinary hand tools. Besides the 6 x 9 metre classrooms, the buildings also have so-called open-air classrooms measuring 25 square metres, as well as the verandas typical for houses in the region. The indoor classroom provides the peace and quiet necessary for undisrupted learning, while the covered outdoor area serves as a well-ventilated area for everyday activities.
A Simplified Building Type drawing more heavily upon the construction methods used in local houses was also developed in order to provide smaller villages and user groups with a model for future permanent constructions. For these buildings, the foundation and damp-proof course are laid as described above, after which earthen bricks measuring 24 x 24 x 12 cm – like those found in local housing traditions – are laid in an upright position to form the masonry. The roof is constructed using individual stalks of bamboo rather than bamboo beams. Instead of interior walls, the simplified design uses a bamboo truss and a column near the back of the classroom. This method permits the construction of classrooms measuring 4 x 5 metres, which provide sufficient space for small groups. Bamboo is also used for the doors and windows. The interior walls are finished with earthen plaster and painted with lime. Floors are made of either rammed earth or, where available, natural stone. The system could be used to construct houses in the future. Building a permanent home costs between 80 and 100 euros, which is equivalent to around two or three months’ wages for a local day labourer. Financing such a project should be no problem with the help of a microloan.
PROJECT TEAM: Project Initiators and Organisers: Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) Mozambique |Architects: Roswag Architekten | Structural Design, Technical Consultation on Earthen Building: Ziegert | Seiler Ingenieure | Advisory Work on Bamboo Construction, Joining Techniques: Geflecht und Raum, Emmanuel Heringer
| Implementation: Forty local craftsmen and assistants from the villages, who received further training as part of the project; additional support provided by the Aga Khan Foundation Mozambique | PROJECT DATA: Construction period: 2008–2010