Nka Foundation Announces the winners of the Mud House Design 2014 competition for Ghana.

The 1st prize winning design is Sankofa House by the design team: M.A.M.O.T.H from France

The 2nd prize winner is Eban Aya by Atelier Koe in Senegal

The 3rd prize is awarded to Ejisu Earth House by Jason Orbe-Smith in USA.

The competition was open to recent graduates and students of architecture, design and others from around the world. The challenge was to design a single-family unit on a plot of 60 x 60 feet to be built by maximum use of earth and local labor in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The client of the design entry is the middle-income family at any township in the region. Total costs of constructing the design entry was capped at $6,000; land value was excluded from this price point. The competition was designed to: (1) to generate mud house design alternatives to be available free to everyone to appreciate, use, or improve them to generate more practical and contemporary design solutions for the region; and (2) to make possible the construction of the best design entries through building workshops to realize prototypes, as examples to the local people that mud architecture can be durable and beautiful.

The jury involved a preselection jury and grand jury by use of judging criteria involving functionality, aesthetics and technical matters. Twenty top finalists were chosen by the Preselection Jury of architects, professors and administrators with relevant expertise, which were forwarded to the Grand Jury of architecture professors and others who are established in earth architecture. From the Top 20 Design Entries, three prize-winning designs were selected. Prizes for first, second and third place consist of a commemorative plaque and a choice of cash reward or construction of winning design in Ghana. Every design team of the Top 20 Design Entries receives a certificate of recognition.

What is next?

Nka Foundation is issuing a challenge to builders, architecture professors and architects worldwide who know how architecture is localized, uses the means and the materials available in the site to create a friendly building to the environment. Join us as a workshop director or a participant to realize the winning designs from our 2014 Mud House Design competition in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Each prototyping workshop will run for about 10 weeks. Participants can join at any time and participate for a minimum of 1 month. Students can use the workshop opportunity to fulfil the academic requirements for their stage/internship, thesis, or volunteer just for learning-by-doing on a vernacular architecture project. Here are all submitted design entries: http://nkaprojects.boards.net/thread/30/submitted-entries-1st-list Please, take a look!

For more information contact info@nkafoundation.org / www.nkafoundation.org.

The Terra [In]cognita Project

The Terra [In]cognita (Earthen architecture in Europe) project was created to raise public awareness of the heritage and contemporary application of earthen architecture through the Outstanding Earth Architecture in Europe Award in the following categories:

  • Buildings with archaeological, historical or architectural interest
  • Buildings s subjects of a remarkable and relevant intervention (restoration, rehabilitation or extension)
  • Buildings constructed after 1970
  • View the Terra [In]cognita Project here.

Red Earth

Experimental Historian, friend and colleague, David Gissen, discusses Earth Architecture and makes an argument for red earth. He writes:

“In arguing for a red earth, I’m not arguing that earth holds an innate leftist proletarian politics in its chemical composition, nor am I completely arguing for the social construction of earth. I am arguing that our engagement with earth offers the possibilities for new liberatory ways of understanding space, that remain tied to earth’s commonness.

A powerful concept of red earth, tied to its ubiquity and free nature, might be found in the roots of much red thought — Marx himself. In his Critique of German Ideology, Marx understood earth (as concept and thing) as the base of political economic philosophy. In one of his most famous passages, he wrote “In total contrast to German [idealist] philosophy, which descends from heaven to earth, we here ascend from earth to heaven.” Marx saw earth (both soil and “the earth”) as the base of his philosophy because it was the defacto element that contained the material and ideological possibilities of society (its nourishment, production, and metaphysics). For Marx, earth contains the conditions of society by society. Earth not only delivers the grains grown by a farmer, but when a person digs his shovel into earth to grow something he or she becomes “a farmer.” When a person binds the earth into bricks he or she becomes “a builder.” The earth is social matter and structure, how we engage with it repeats existing structures and opens up new concepts.”

Read more at David’s blog, HTC Experiments.

Rammed Earth & Modular Contained Earth

Alternative Construction: Rammed Earth & Modular Contained Earth is a 3-hour interactive online course examines the systems and materials associated with alternative construction, including scenarios on the uses of rammed earth and modular contained earth. It discusses their histories, environmental impacts, and construction methods. This is part of a series of courses concerning Alternative Construction: Contemporary Natural Building Methods.