Africa

Reviving 3,000-year-old architecture to fight climate change

Published 7:33 AM ET, Fri December 30, 2016
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Deforestation and climate change has drastically reduced the supply of wood and straw in the Sahel region of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Among the damaging effects of this is a shortage of material to build and maintain homes, and millions now suffer in sub-standard housing.
The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
Many families have been forced to use corrugated iron instead, which is far more expensive and ill-suited to the climate, making homes that boil in summer and freeze in winter. The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
A novel solution from NGO La Voute Nubienne (Nubian Vault) is to revive the architectural techniques practiced by the ancient Nubian civilization over 3,000 years ago.

The method uses earth-based bricks and mortar to construct superior homes at minimal expense.
The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
The homes are based on a foundation of rocks but require no imported materials. They can be constructed in 15 days for as little as $150. La Voute Nubienne
The NGO has a market-based approach to proliferating the Nubian vault homes. It has trained over 500 masons and hundreds more apprentices who can respond to public demand and train a new generation. The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
Around 20,000 people now live in Nubian vaults across five countries where the program is being implemented; Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Benin and Ghana, with plans to expand into new countries. The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
The homes are well-suited to the local climate, retaining heat at night but remaining cool during the day. The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
The method is versatile enough to provide for a range of needs, such as this basic unit for a small family... The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
...As well as this two-story home for a family that needs more space. The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
Nubian vaults can also be grand affairs with several rooms and levels. The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
The program also goes beyond homes to provide public and community buildings such as this literacy center. The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
This community building would be used to host public meetings and events. The Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN)