mlima wa tofali

AMD.inddAMD.inddAMD.inddAMD.inddAMD.inddMukuru Kwa Njenga, Nairobi, like many other shanty town all over the world, has got it’s obvious downsides; high density housing, no planned electricity, plumbing or even paving. But Mukuru Kwa Njenga has one great advantage: it has a centrally located open space, accessible for everybody. We propose to use this advantage to the full potential by creating two open spaces, and thus compensating for the lack thereof in slums itself.

The existing field gets upgraded to a large open space to play, exercise and perform. A multifunctional sports field and open air theatre: a gathering space for both small and large events. Further a smaller more intimate quiet space, functioning as the backyard of the neighborhood, to quietly study, play or enjoy the outdoors in the shadow of a tree, in a safe surrounding.

It is not just a division, it adds to the quality of both areas. It becomes a grandstand for the sports/theatre area, and the fourth wall. The facilities are housed in the most basic shape of shelter: the dome. The only building material used for the structure is brick, made by the slum dwellers from locally available and virtually free clay. The dome shape does not require additional structure.

By filling the leftover space with locally available soil, it forms the grandstand and a breezy garden elevated above the surrounding slums. The mass of the soil establishes high resistance against earthquakes. Cool night air is stored in the soil and gets released during the warmer days thru a simple piping system creating a pleasant climate inside. Rain is contained by this soil allowing abundant plant growth on the elevated garden.

This building requires participation and involvement of the local slum dwellers from the very beginning. It is a low cost, but time consuming building; the bricks can be made by the locals. Maintenance of the elevated garden will be their responsibility and joy. The result will be a building, and a piece of earth, for and from the people of Mukuru Kwa Njenga.

in collaboration with, Wim Sjerps, Helga Traksel