Children's House

Amaan Khalid, Sumayya Akbar, Asma Qasim
University of Karachi, Department of Visual Studies

Project idea

This design is a proposal for Children's House in Baghere village-Senegal- Africa. Global warming and climatic change have adversely affected the community food system of Senegal, Africa, where children are suffering from malnutrition and lacking behind in many social skills.
Looking into this problem, we designed a warm, welcoming and a playful space that would give a sense of protection to the children and the users in general, uniting them under one roof.
Moving parallel with this concept and the design development, we divided three spaces as per the program requirement, such that it protects a central space. In the heart of the space, the rain water is being harvested into the underground well, along with the cultivation of yum beans. Cultivation of yum beams can provide villagers with protein rich nutritious meal with low requirement of irrigation or fertilizer. Yum beans have capability to grow in any soil type, providing an ultimate solution to hunger and poverty. Our children's house has two entrances, one of the entrances takes us to the admin space and to the meeting. Another entrance takes us directly to examination space. So, people who would have meetings can go directly to the admin or meeting without circulating in the entire space. While the at-risk patient can take the entrance from examination space and get admitted in the dorms. Our washrooms are located next to dorms, so they are easily accessible to the patients at the same time washrooms can be accessible through admin space because of circular geometry of our form. Our recreation space can be accessed from both the entrances as this space has link to every space.
The construction material addresses the root causes of food unavailability. Our very own building material is made from locally acquired waste paper along with bamboo and local thatch both being cost effective and sustainable. Use of paper bricks would help in waste paper management through recycling, reducing the pollution in the area. The space also glorifies the vernacular architecture of Senegal for the long-term survival of the built space, at the same time preventing alienation of locals from their own culture. The construction process involves community participation, where kids and adult both can come together to build the children's house, fostering a sense of ownership and sensitivity amongst the villagers. This would also become an engaging way through which they could learn about the use of recycled, sustainable material and how it could address the problems of global warming and adverse climate change.
We also used recycled coloured glass bottles in the dorm walls to elevate the sensory experience of the at-risk patients, which could be a break through from a dull environment of traditional dorms. At risk children can see the other children playing in the recreation space and central space from their beds in the dorms, this sight would motivate them to get engage in the physical activities.
The amusing nature of our recreation space in the children's house creates an attraction spot for kids as it follows curved geometry or fluidity. A platform is created with mud plastered bamboos on which kids could sit or walk on. the wind whistles in the hollow bamboos, used in the roof of the recreation space would stimulate joyfulness and excitement in kids. The use of this play area is open to children's imagination.

Project description

Two tonnes of paper pollute the land of Senegal on daily basis. In order to cater its environmental impact, we decided to acquire and recycle it, to make our construction material.
Recycled and bamboo reinforced paper block is our main construction material. It is made by mixing large quantities of paper pulp and German glue. It is then compressed to release the excess water into its Molds. We also wanted to break the trend of stereotypical use of concrete as it releases carbon dioxide in the construction and manufacturing process which is a greenhouse gas, contributing to global warming. Our construction material is cost effective, as the collection and acquiring of waste paper would be done by the villagers from the surroundings, Hence the paper is free of cost. It does not have any carbon footprint in the manufacturing or construction process. Another very important material that we used is bamboo. It's cheap, locally acquired eco-friendly and sustainable. Bamboo is fast growing and requires no fertilizer and need not to be replanted. We used bamboo for reinforcing the paper brick and to provide structural support. We also created partition walls for the central space from bamboo. The floor of our children's house is made from sundried mud brick. Upon which laterite mud plaster is done and broken tiles are a Used. The sun-dried brick is also cost effective. Its locally acquired sustainable material with no environmental impact. For the construction of roof thatch is used. Thatch roof is used to make roofs of vernacular architecture of Senegal. Thatch is also cheap, locally acquired and sustainable material.

Technical information

In order to make the paper brick we used 65 percent of paper pulp and 35 percent of German glue. It is then compressed to release the excess water into its Molds. The dimensions of the Mold are 8” x 1’ x6”. There are Two cylindrical volumes in the centre of diameter 5” inside the Mold so that the paper brick would have void spaces for bamboo reinforcement. It is then kept for drying in the sun. It takes two to three weeks for paper brick to dry completely under the exposure of sun. These bricks are then coated with a layer of German glue for waterproofing it. Bamboos are reinforced into the two hollows in the brick. The blocks tie to each other through these bamboos. When the wall is completed, it is coated with mud plaster layer to protect the paper brick wall from rain and moisture. The reinforced bamboos and the bamboos used in partition walls are infused into the tin boxes of dimension 1.5’ x1.5’ x1.5’ and filled with concrete. These boxes are buried deep down to create foundations. To make the storage walls we used hollow blocks of dimension 1’x 6’’ x 8”. For joining the bamboos, ropes are used to create the joints in the roof construction. The bamboos in the partition walls are used to store water into the rainwater harvesting well, when the water passes through them. Three ring beams are used for the construction of thatched roof. This load is on the bamboos. Asphalt linear sheets are used as waterproofing layer for the roof. Above the asphalt linear sheets thatched panels are placed and tied to the bamboos with ropes. The runoff inclination angle of the roof is about 35 degrees.

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