Honourable Mentions

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Project by: Ana Carolina Vargas González, Alexis Salinas Arriagada, Gilberto Valverde Arias, David Cubero Fernández.
from Costa Rica and Chile.
Honourable mention selected by Kaira Looro & Balouo Salo organization


People are immersed in contexts that change and mutate differently due to human and non-human actions that affect their lives, and some are unexpected and lead to emergencies that show human vulnerability. Africa has not only been known for its natural and cultural richness but also for its emergency situations. Due to this, different organizations provide support and require the resources and equipment that allow them to work. In this context, a center for emergency operations is needed to provide the necessary support, and TEGERE comes to help in the process. TEGERE’s design recognizes the richness of vernacular architecture in the African culture and the availability of materials in the region to contrast this with the environmental issues of the construction process and new technologies when building. Based on this, a thorough study is conducted to analyze the previous factors. The study focuses on the traditional construction methods, the logic behind the location of the constructions, the benefits of natural materials, the importance of a sustainable development, and the new construction tools that are available. In the African vernacular architecture, constructions use the soil in the sites by incorporating water to create a mixture—this might be one of the most primitive building materials— that allows manual construction. TEGERE reconsiders the traditional design method and construction with the integration of digital design and manufacture that reinterprets the logic of the sterotomic and remains faithful to the concept of gravity. In other words, what for years was crafted by the people who lived in these spaces is now developed under 3D printing technology. This type of construction process is considered due to the possibilities that it offers in terms of materials and the proposed construction method. Production with natural materials gives the possibility that once the construction has met its life cycle, it can become part of nature again without having a negative impact on the environment. When manufacturing, time is fundamental and by means of 3D printing production, time is considerably reduced compared to traditional methods. Under this method, the way materials are brought to the construction site changes, and the application of parametric design determines the optimal and most efficient system to make this possible. At the same time, the implementation of the design process allows the exploration of the morphologies that evoke formal gestures that can be found in art and architecture in African cultures. Through this, the project intends to be easily identified by its users and integrated in the context of the area. Finally, the proposal expects to be a model for the management and response to different emergencies like natural, sanitary, and food emergencies and security. The program consists of three main parts: the operational, logistic, and humanitarian assistance area. From the mentioned above, particular emphasis was given to the humanitarian assistance by defining three main spaces with different scales easily adapted to the requirements of the emergency. This program was developed through three volumes that communicate among one another and that are visualized as protection elements that provide fluidity in the design and offer respite from the surroundings. TEGERE intends to be a model for emergency operations centers that is based on the geographical context by taking into consideration the natural and cultural richness, the requirements of the constructions for emergency purposes, and the available technology. The project seeks to help care for people who need assistance in an emergency, so its name TEGERE, which has the meaning of protecting or covering.


The main material that is used to build the walls and floors is a mixture of soil, water, straw, and vegetable-based additives. The preparation process is very similar to the traditional one that is used in Africa where the soil is extracted from the construction site, which reduces the economic and energetic cost to obtain the raw material. Once it is extracted, the soil is mixed with the other materials to obtain a stiff product that is later deposited in layers in an automated way to build the different volumes in the project. The project requires approximately 216 m3 of soil, which are collected by undermining -0.5 m of the site. The extraction of the soil is integrated into the design by adjusting the topology in the building site according to the location and landscape value. In terms of the covers, wooden structures will be used as the basic structure upon which a waterproof cover will be placed.


The construction process is carried out by means of 3D printers, and it starts by preparing the land, extracting the soil, installing the printers, working on the material to print the walls, and it continues with the deposit of layers of the material in an automated way, with specific speed and consistency to give shape to the building. Approximately, the printing of 0.15 m of wall is about 1 second. However, the preparation time of the mixture and installation of the printers must be added, which gives a construction time of 141.4 hours (Continuous Work Days -24hrs- 5.9 Total Days, or in Partial Work Days -12hrs- 11.8 Total Days). The manufacturing process that uses soil 3D printing posts significant advantages. For instance, in a catastrophic scenario, it would help people with the hard work in any construction while the architectural features are still taken into account. Additionally, the costs are reduced because builders have easy access to the resources in the building site, the soil as raw material and printers that use solar panels, which provides constant progress and helps in the construction time.


Project by: Manuela Molina, María Camila Joaqui, María Camila Martínez, Silvia Valentina Ruiz.
from Colombia.
Honourable mention selected by Kengo Kuma


Despite the cultural diversity in Africa, there is a common aspect that brings them together, an intrinsic quality that remains latent over time and that its application has permeated different scales, from patterns on fabrics, to norms of settlement of a territory. This principle is known as fractal, which unfolds from the particular to the general through geometric compositions of indefinite growth that are reflected in repetitive motifs establishing a harmonious whole. This composition is predetermined by a sequence of similar processes that lead to the creation of patterns at different scales, showing a precise replica of the whole in some of its parts. Furthermore, the fractal becomes the in-between mechanism that allows harmony between order and chance, resulting in a self-organized complexity. Whenever a compositional method is employed, a cultural meaning is attached. African principles typically relate infinity to positive attributes, suggesting a progression without limit. It is how the idea of growth and successive repetitions of an action are associated with prestige, wellness, spiritual energy and prosperity. This is where the importance of generating meaning through iterative construction is emphasized. With all being said, our project derives from the previous principle by applying similar processes of replicability from a base module. This modularity that generates versatile areas at different scales (spaces, cabins, settlements), result in a dispersed arrangement that when grouped by similar properties (assistance and services) creates a pattern of occupied and open areas. The previously established order allows a self-organized growth, this lays out a relationship between the outside and the inside through clusters of units and communal spaces, formed by its congregation. As previously stated, the project establishes a modular typology that governs all decisions, since it makes the architecture effective in terms of construction and space. Moreover, the design responds to a versatile nature, providing spaces that can change in use depending on the needs of the emergency. Service and assistance areas are created in order to complement each other for the reception and transition of the community in emergency. As a result of the volumes arrangement, the remaining space is transformed into communal areas that activates social interactions and activities for collective use. On the other hand, the project proposes an architecture that is able to suit any locality in Sub-Saharan Africa thanks to the 50cm elevation of the ground. It also adapts to a vast amount of emergency types, met through the flexibility of spaces. The use of local materials such as white wood and bamboo is due to its abundance in the zone, as well as the availability during both, the time of construction and for possible future repairs. On the other hand, these are materials commonly used in vernacular architecture, which allows taking advantage of local technique and labor. White wood is used for the supporting structure characterized for being resistant and easy to assemble and disassemble. Bamboo is chosen for the façade and enclosures of the project, since it is a lightweight material that allows easy transportation and handling, this allows all the members of the community to be involved in the construction process. However, in case the bamboo is not available or runs out during the construction, it is possible to replace it with some other local fiber such as banana leaves. The structure of a single module is based on a 2,5m x 5m seed from which two types of cabins can be formed: services cabins made up of 4 seeds and assistance cabins made up of 8 seeds. Each cabin has a set of walkways and stairs on its perimeter that are independently assembled to the shed. These modular proportions and assembly properties are the ones that endorse the system replicability and a mutability. Along with its straightforward structure, this helps to promote the participation of the communities during the construction. This is why we chose the simple joints between elements and the prefabrication of almost all parts, so that it is possible to build each component simultaneously and thus save time. The cabins construction process begins with the leveling of the ground and later with the excavation and casting for the 30x30 cm concrete block foundations, to which the timber columns are anchored. The trusses are prefabricated in the ground and then joined to the columns to form the structural frame, that will be replicated throughout the project, these are joined together with timber beams. To build the floor, a substructure of wooden joists is assembled to which the wooden plank floor finish is screwed, simultaneously the exterior stairs and walkways are being built separately. The façade frames are also prefabricated in the ground from wooden slats and bamboo tissues. Meanwhile, a wooden substructure is assembled to form the roof into which metal tiles will be screwed. Additionally, it is planned to have metal gutters in all the ceilings of the project to lead the rainwater to tanks where it will be collected and reused in toilets or in crops irrigation. In conclusion, the project resignifies the fractal principle as a useful mechanism in order to establish a modular architecture that allows an efficient, versatile and adaptable construction.

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