Prototype Village House

Category Winner Living Together

Prototype Village House; Brick Award 2020 Category "Living Together"; Architects: MIT Rwanda Workshop Team, Photo: Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose
© Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose
Prototype Village House; Brick Award 2020 Category "Living Together"; Architects: MIT Rwanda Workshop Team, Photo: Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose
© Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose

Key facts

Prototype Village House

Architects  Rafi Segal and the MIT Rwanda Workshop Team, USA

Location   Kigali, Rwanda

Construction period   07/2017 - 04/2018

Nomination category   Living Together

Purpose   Prototype single-family housing

Brick type   Facing bricks, clay blocks


 

About the project

Rwanda is the most densely populated country on the African continent, but at the same time very rural, with only 26% of its inhabitants living in cities. Outside the urban areas, a sprawl of small houses covers the hilly landscape. Because such peri-urban settlements also require modernization and expansion, a state program to promote village development has existed since 2013. These projects, however, are centrally managed, do not involve the local population and resources and result in uniform new buildings with high construction costs. To develop an alternative, a team of MIT Africa students headed by Professor Rafi Segal conducted a three-week project in the village of Mageragere. Together with villagers and local laborers, they worked out a prototype for an affordable house which is completely tailored to Rwandan needs.

The elongated shape of the house is ideal for the hilly terrain, as relatively little ground needs to be excavated to build the house. On the inside, the structure offers about 68 square meters of freely separable living space, as Rwandan families are often large. A rainwater harvesting system collects the water draining from the pent roof and eliminates long hikes to public water points. 

The wall system of the house features a core of panels made of compressed straw fiber combined with 10x10 centimeter thick concrete posts. Unlike most Rwandan village houses, it was not clad in sun-dried bricks, but with longer-lasting red ones. 

"A step towards modernization from within traditional building." 

The goal of this project is to even build entire villages of the new house type, which thereby takes on an urban scale. 
This small brick house could, therefore, have a big impact.