African Design Magazine July 2016 - Page 22

shading modules reflect and promote the local cultural heritage, providing thermal comfort, an aesthetic design and functional architecture. Environmental Strategies Kente House is oriented along the East/West axis, in order to reduce solar radiation exposure due to its location [6.6667° N, 1.6167° W]. The main façade is oriented towards the South West in order to harness the most frequent winds and use them to naturally ventilate the building. The cold air enters through the façade and is released by the windows located in the North East façade. Bioclimatic Kente Shading The Kente cloth has its origin with the Ashanti Kingdom. The house builds on this rich cultural legacy to promote a sense of pride in local making tradition by incorporating the interwoven pieces as part of its bioclimatic architecture, since they are integrated as shading devices to reduce solar radiation penetrating in the east and west façades. The zig-zag wooden structure, which contains the cloths, follows the Akan aphorism named Nkyinkyim, whose message is ‘life is not a straight path, there are multiple ways to reach the same objective’, also incorporated in the cloths as the base material of the shading devices. Thermal Mass Thermal mass provided by the 40cm rammed earth walls, enables to reduce the heat transfer from the exterior of the house towards the interior, therefore decreasing overheating while increasing the occupier’s thermal comfort. Passive Cooling Verandahs, traditional architectural elements of the compound dwelling in Ashanti, are incorporated in Kente House as intermediate spaces, performing as thermal buffers which delay the heat transfer between the interior and the exterior of the dwelling. The verandahs are the favourite spaces for the Kente weavers to work in. Cross Ventilation: Double Skin Roof A double skin roof was constructed incorporating a ceiling of raffia sticks and zinc roof sheets. The South West winds ventilate the void generated between both membranes. The sloped roof enables rainwater discharge while avoiding infiltration. Matthew Chantzidakis, M&E and Sustainability Consultant from London-based Skelly & Couch, who attended the Kente House Building Workshop, explains in detail the double skin roof performance HERE. The Kente House Building Workshop The Kente House Building Workshop, developed in 2015 in Abetenim, gathered architects, designers and engineers from Denmark, Ireland, United States, Greece, England, Italy and Chile, along with local workers from Abetenim, with the purpose of constructing Kente House. The entire construction process of Kente House can be found by CLICKING HERE Interior and Product Design Kente House’s lamp shadings were designed and constructed by Italian Product Designer, Alma Malara, who personally collected local palm tree fibres to produce the pieces. Additionally, Alma was in charge of designing the backers’ wall, which incorporates all the names of the people who supported the project. Malara also wanted to promote the traditional Ashanti pattern designs by incorporating them in the light switches. Upcycling 22 africandesignmagazine.com