The New Age Village: Re-inventing the Vernacular African Mud Hut

When you think about the African Mud Hut, what comes to mind tends to be cylindrical structures crowned with cone shaped thatched roofs (for the most part). This perception is a traditional one that has been formed over decades if not centuries, and that was the very thing that the duo of Karolina and Wayne Switzer sought to re-invent at Abetenim ArtsVillage in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Back in 2012, the Nka Foundation organised the 10×10 Shelter Challenge, a hands-on, site-based design experience focused on learning-by-doing in African architecture. The challenge was to “design and build a learning shelter that measures 10 feet by 10 feet in a location outside of the Western culture, most precisely deep in the village in Ghana, where the convenience of development has not reached.  The shelter is to suggest a relationship between art and architecture by maximum use of local materials“.

The duo had 6 weeks to conduct the site analysis, design and construct their proposal, using corrugated zinc roofing over rammed earth wall. They spend 5 weeks to build the 2.4m x 3.6 m structure that features a fairly large veranda all for the cost of 6,500 cedi, which comes to about N 315 000.

Heres a look at the construction work in pictures (sourced from here).

Earth-Building-2++ Earth-Building-1++ Earth-Building-3++ Earth-Building-6++ image-164663-full Earth-Building-11++ image-164665-full GhanaDesign-BuildByWayne.KarolinaSwitzerExterior-View Exterior-View-2+ Exterior-View-3+ Terrace-View-4+ Terrace-View-3+ Interior-View-1+ Exterior-View-5+


To get the extensive story on the project and its development, read this archdaily article.

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