Home Business Senegal architects ditch concrete for earth in revival of previous strategies By...

Senegal architects ditch concrete for earth in revival of previous strategies By Reuters



© Reuters. A employee carries a newly made brick on the Elementerre manufacturing unit in Mbour, Senegal Could 10, 2021. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra


By Nellie Peyton and Christophe Van Der Perre

DAKAR (Reuters) – Development is booming in Dakar, the place unfinished condo blocks tower over most streets, their uncovered concrete bricks a boring uniform gray.

In a single website, nonetheless, a constructing stands out – the bricks the employees are laying are product of uncooked, pink earth.

Concrete is cheap and used with abandon in Senegal’s capital, however it’s poorly suited to the West African warmth. On summer time days, when temperatures incessantly attain 100 levels fahrenheit (38°C), the buildings turn into furnaces, cooled solely with blasts of air-con.

Earth naturally regulates warmth and humidity, say the founders of Worofila, an structure agency specializing in bioclimatic design.

Since 2016, they’ve been pushing for the fabric to make a comeback. They are saying it may scale back air pollution from cement factories and electrical energy manufacturing – and maintain folks cool.

“Earlier than air-con, folks paid consideration to supplies and orientation for the pure regulation of warmth,” stated Worofila co-founder Nzinga Mboup, whereas employees laid bricks for the higher flooring of what is going to be a household dwelling with a pool.

“The second A/C arrived, these issues went out the window.”

Senegal’s conventional dwellings have been product of mud, however that has been deserted. Dakar’s sidewalks right this moment are plagued by piles of sand and stones which can be blended with cement to make low cost constructing blocks.

To make trendy earth bricks, employees combine soil with smaller quantities of cement and water to create a combination that they reduce into blocks, compress with a hand-operated machine and depart to dry for 21 days.

In contrast to concrete, earth bricks require little power to supply. Cement, the principle ingredient in concrete, accounts for 8% of carbon dioxide emissions, in response to British assume tank Chatham Home.

Earth building is area of interest. It prices greater than concrete and many individuals are unaware of the choice. Worofila has been longlisted for an Ashden Award, a British prize for local weather options, which it hopes will elevate visibility.

“At first we have been in search of shoppers. As we speak we do not search for them. We now have loads of demand,” stated Doudou Deme, who in 2010 based Elementerre, which makes earth bricks in Senegal.

Elementerre and Worofila have partnered on non-public houses, places of work and a part of a practice station, however have barely made a dent in Dakar’s building scene.

Nonetheless, when Mboup explains the idea it resonates, she stated. Folks keep in mind that their grandmother’s mud home within the village was at all times the good.

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