Doctor's house in Maji Moto
The design of the doctor’s house has been based on an old technique, historically implemented by the Nubian people of Northern Africa. They developed a way of building vaulted structures, without the need of a supportive framework. In a typical Nubian vault, adobe bricks are laid at a slight angle against the gable walls in a length-wise vault. The shape of this vault almost completely corresponds to the curve of a reversed catenary;
which follows the line cast by a chain, held up at both ends. When shaped like this, only compressive forces occur. This is crucial, as adobe vaults have only limited endurance of tensile forces.
This technique not only allows us to build the roof without the need of timber or corrugated roofing sheets; it exclusively relies on the readily accessible local materials of: clay, sand, straw and manure. In addition, adobe bricks are sun-dried; unlike their kiln-fired ‘burnt brick’ counterparts, which contribute to illegal deforestation. The natural presence of a clay-based soil and sand in Maji Moto, along with the environmental benefits incurred by this technique, prompted us to select this method. Furthermore, adobe bricks are produced manually in open moulds, directly onto the ground. The relative simplicity of production allowed us to easily teach local workmen, who have continued to produce the adobes themselves.
Eventually, the doctor’s house will be finished with a lime-based plaster; which will be applied to the walls and roof. This is designed to ensure the water-tightness of the structure. Lime is applied in both plaster and foundation, instead of cement, due to the environmental benefits of this material’s closed cycle. Most of the CO2 released during the manufacturing process of lime is re-absorbed during the lifetime of the construction. Hence, lime is almost carbon neutral.
The Doctor’s House consists of a kitchen, living room and two bedrooms. A toilet and bathroom is traditionally dislocated from the house. The kitchen is located on the North-West side of the building. Since the dominant wind comes from the South-East, smoke from the kitchen fire won’t be distributed throughout building. The curves of the roof have been designed to harvest rain water and drain it towards water collecting
Adobe and Nubian vaults
January - July 2018
Village leaders Maji moto
Ana Belen, Charlotte Coupille and Kogeka Geel