"Emerging Ghana" Wins Open Source House Competition for Local, Modular, and Efficient Design


Last year, Enviu, known for the sustainable dance floor and club, launched the Open Source House project, a platform to share much needed sustainable and affordable housing solutions. The goal of their first competition, in which 3100 architects participated, was to design an affordable, flexible and sustainable house for people living in poor housing conditions in Ghana. Cameron Sinclair announced Emerging Ghana by Ana Morgado, João Caeiro, Lara Camilla Pinho, Maria de Paz Sequeira Braga and Maria de Carmo Caldeira, from Portugal, Mexico and Brazil, as the winner of the OS-House competition this week. According to the jury 'Emerging Ghana' is a very convincing, well-considered and complete concept, that is all about local production, modular design and efficient technology.

The winning design will be build in Ghana as a pilot case. 'Emerging Ghana' is a low-tech housing solution specifically for Ghana, made with local materials and designed for the climate of Cape Coast. The materials used are bamboo and dahoma, a local wood, for the modular and lightweight panels. These are held together with strong rammed earth walls. Due to the modular design, inside and outside spaces can be created depending on different needs and environments. Natural ventilation is archived throughout the building, due to the earth walls that keep the spaces cool and shaded areas. According to Enviu:

More than one billion people in the world are forced to live in slums and that number is growing rapidly. The inhabitants of these slums are - contrary to what we often think - people with a decent job and a steady income. Nevertheless they can still face major difficulties when it comes to getting a decent house. Rapid urbanization, wastage of resources, expensive building materials, inefficient construction methods and architects who do not share their ideas are all part of the underlying problem.

None less than Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, inspired the attending architects to design for those in need on monday at the OS-House award ceremony. He emphasized the importance of projects like Open Source House to solve the worldwide housing problem together. Hundreds of architects enjoyed the keynote in which he stated not to focus on becoming a 'star architect' but to start now and design for those in need. Or as Cameron put it, "Design like you give a damn".

Description of the 2nd to 5th place winners:
Second Place:
'W.B.C.' by Kari Smith, Dan Burkett and Erin Bodin (United States)
The spine of the house comprises all technical items infrastructure: ventilation, water cisterns, fireplace and/or kitchen, electrical wiring, and sewage system. Nicely positioned within the home and facing the street is an outdoor but covered fireplace, which doubles the kitchen area. The design promotes an innovative and sustainable way of living. The rooms can evolve freely in a formal or informal way around the spine.

Third Place:
'BambooOS' by Yong Tang, Elena Eijgenseer, Jalal Spiegel, Yan Chen and Alice Hu.(China)
The design is based on the upcoming industry of constructive bamboo in Ghana. This design can contribute to the cultural acceptance of bamboo as a construction material suitable for the home environment. The lay-out with pergola in the middle creates an open structure that can ventilate maximally. Such a typology offers a clear central axis in the house along which all closed spaces are organized. In case of substantial financial means, future extensions of the house are easy to realize.

Fourth Place:
'Booing' by Sergio Guzman (Peru)
BOOING is a daring design in terms of a new aesthetic language in the Ghanaian context. The iconographic submission results in a very beautifully usable shaded patio. The ventilation principle is arranged by a solar chimney combined with a skin that can be opened or closed according to the wishes of the inhabitants. The living room can be used as a shop or workshop, as such the living room is oriented towards the street. This aspect creates an economic impulse to a family, but also contributes to the livelihood of the public space.

Fifth Place:
'OS-House MAD' by Patxi Gastaminza (Spain) Jürgen Münzer (Austria)
The roof-over-the-closed-box concept is sound and subtly designed. The intermediate space is well defined; it offers protection and privacy, but at the same time is open according to the social interaction of the Ghanaian lifestyle. A covered but open-air kitchen is integrated one of the 'boxes'. The garden and outside space flow freely through the house, all under one roof.

Since OS-House is all about sharing information, you can find all the designs that were part of the Ghanaian competition on their platform, and use, combine and build them! ::OS-House

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