COMPETITION ENTRY: TALL HALF HOUSE, TANZANIA
Tall House – the intent being to minimise the footprint. Tall also, so we could place the accommodation above and off the ground. The ground is dirty, for cattle, chickens and becomes unstable during flash floods
Half House – because the house has both social (public) and family (private) sides, in placement on the site and within the space planning of the internal levels of the house.
The structure of the house is half closed, and half open
What is a house ?
We have been wrestling, for a very long time, in the practice with the idea of the house
The origin of ‘house’, of examples, variations, throughout time and in all cultures, is endless and haphazard, and rightly so. It should be
As a point of departure, we propose thinking broadly in ‘epochs’
If the International style, (was), is International, (the Modern Movement), and is both post-industrial, and inescapable, then we argue that today, in no part of the world including all its cultures, can anyone reverse industrialisation?
Which is not to say there is nothing to reference in pre industrial times, to find better ways today to live in the world we have very nearly destroyed.
The site is located very nearly on the equator, in a region with unique natural conditions, character, customs and resources. Where the International style cannot predict or dictate the design, is in the notion that ‘one size fits all’. It does not.
We propose to try to further evolve the position established in the Modern Movement, in considering the way structures are made today and the unique characteristics of the region in which the site is located
Where ‘making’ buildings has become extremely sophisticated, from the original ‘domino house proposition’ in ‘first world thinking’, let us realistically re consider our thinking in a time and place where the methods and materials of construction allow rather for bricks, cement, timber planks, steel nuts, bolts, plates, connectors, prefabricated steel and polycarbonate profiled sheeting. There not being cash for cantilevers, cost intensive composite materials, components and means of construction
The proposed structure consists of a base, elevated above the surface of the ground, made of cement reinforced and braced brick piers, a concrete slab, and a stabilising ‘shear structure’ which also serves as the ‘fire places structure’. On top of the secure base, stands a timber framed and braced structure with platforms, connected using steel nuts, bolts and plates. The framed structure is partly (half) enclosed and supports a rain water collecting sheet roof (potentially also solar panels)
The existing access to the site leads into the ‘public domain’ of the site
The house is positioned on the site near the existing trees to be retained, separating the access to the site from the existing dwellings on the site, also to be retained. A passer-by can pass the house, without entering it.
We propose the existing shower and latrine be immediately upgraded. New showers and bathroom facilities are located at the base of structure, with water tanks
The stairs at the base, also a communal sitting space, and a ramp for the infirm, provide access to the first level of the home
At the first level of the ‘timber frame’, there are social spaces, outdoor and indoor fires for cooking, private spaces for living and sleeping for the family
Stairs to the next level of the ‘frame’ lead to the primary sleeping spaces, which in turn are equipped with ‘bed containers’ which can be arranged in different ‘layouts’. The ‘bed containers’ sleep two people and also provide for a work surface and storage space. A further stair leads to the top level – a private family terrace below the canopy roof looking out over the landscape
We do not intend to appropriate from the first world post industrial international style, nor from the rural Tanzanian way of building
However, the precept of equal access for all to sun, space, green and fresh air, is we propose, universally immutable