African Design Magazine July 2016 - Page 20

encouraging gro Located in the Abetenim Arts Village, 40km from Kumasi, in the Ashanti constructed during 2015, after being short-listed in the 2014 Mud House De organisation ba C ross ventilation, thermal mass to reduce heat transfer, double skin roof and Kente cloth shading devices are some of the environmental strategies incorporated in Kente House, a house and working space designed for Kente weavers to promote their work while encouraging growth and development in Abetenim. The competition was created as part of understanding that stereotypes about buildings made of earth persist in Ghana and other West African countries. Locals believe that earth construction is for the very poor, it is seen as a weak material and is not as modern as concrete. 98% of the dwellings in Abetenim remain in disrepair due to poor construction and erosion, which is added to the lack of privacy that users encounter in the traditional compound dwelling of Ashanti. However, 70% of the land that covers Ghana is laterite, a free, zero-embodied material eligible for earth construction, quite appealing considering the gradual increase in cement prices. The Brief Kente House is a 118m2 single-family unit designed for Kente weavers, as a way of promoting the region’s cultural heritage. The house is located along the W/E axis. Bedrooms are distributed in the central part. It also includes a weavers’ workshop in the western façade in order to avoid the morning solar radiation during working hours. 20