Open Source Housing, Ghana, Africa
Client: Enviu Foundation Netherlands
Status: Competition – Finalist
Designer: Shaun Morris
Locally EmbeddedThe introduction of a new technique in the use of solid wood structural panels assembled at the saw mill from lesser known species (LKS) under a controlled environment and next to the material source results in benefits to the local forestry industry by expanding their operation to include a new prefabricated product made from an under utilized readily available natural resource on their own land.
This further results in improving the effectiveness of the labor market in the construction industry by shifting the majority of fabrication efforts to a controlled, supervised environment near a steady supply of material.
Prevailing winds for the Cape Coast region and Accra are mostly South to South West throughout the year. Positioning the urban garden to the South and the OS House to the North takes advantage of this. In addition to cooling, winds pick up oxygen over the vegetation before sweeping through the open South elevation and are allowed to move right through the short dimension of the house and out the porous North elevation.
The East and West walls consist of a porous structural panel and a light skin separated by an air space, a contiguous chamber linking the cooler, dryer air beneath the elevated structure to the ridge vent at the roof. Thus air is kept circulating continuously even when winds can’t be relied on.
Panel shapes have been studied and optimized so that the maximum variety of assemblages can be achieved using the minimum variety of shapes
Finally solid wood structural panels overcome the negative connotations attributed to traditional wood construction by the people Ghana since it is viewed as an advanced technique converting a readily available natural resource into unlikely, homogenous forms with high levels of refinery.