Sustainable Housing: Rammed Earth Kente Housing Project

Executive Director of Ghana Real Estate Developers Association Sammy Amegayibor has observed that importing building materials implied higher costs for properties in the country. “The costs of building materials affect the price, especially if they are imported. Prices of imported building materials are high and constructors need the foreign currency to pay for these materials, therefore increasing the prices of the houses,” says Amegayibor.

To solve this problem and reduce building costs, two architects, and a consultant from England, Germany and Chile have initiated the Rammed Earth Kente Housing Project, an eco-friendly design, which is due to start in July. The prototype unit will be constructed in Abetenim, a town about 40 kilometres from Kumasi. The three-month workshop will bring together local and international architects from Denmark, Egypt, Ireland, Greece and other parts of the world.

Jumia House Ghana

The Kente Housing Project

The Kente Housing Project will rely on the use of the traditional and rural housing type in Ghana using materials such as cotton, native wood, rammed red earth and a small quantity of foreign material such as aluminium for the roof and concrete for the foundation.

The workshop’s main objective is to re-establish and promote the use of rammed earth in contemporary Ghanaian construction. The architects will demonstrate how rammed earth can be used to provide quality, affordable and aesthetic architecture that makes use of available local materials and traditional construction techniques that are falling into oblivion. The aim of the project is also to equip the local people with the technique to construct their own structures using earth, which is both available and affordable in order to change the myths surrounding the use of earth in construction.

The project will allow local people to have their own architectural designs, based on the traditional compound house concept.

Jumia House Ghana

Why the name “Kente?”

Kente House incorporates Ashanti’s cultural heritage into architecture. It includes shading devices made of Kente cloth using local cotton and native wood enabling it to reduce overheating while providing thermal comfort to its occupants. The devices are located in the west and east facades which are the most problematic because of the solar radiation.

Jumia House Ghana

Project Funding

The project is currently seeking the support of individuals and companies towards the workshop. Donations provided will promote employment, improve local labor skills, encourage productive and fruitful work and contribute to local growth and development along with improving Ghanaians’ well-being with regards to housing by promoting the construction of a low energy consumption design.

What the Kente Project will encourage

The prototype unit will reduce overheating and energy consumption, incorporate natural ventilation and increase privacy within their occupants. It will incorporate the traditional elements found in the Ashanti Region. According to the consulting architect, Angeles Hevia, “Ashanti Region was chosen basically because 98 percent of the houses in the Abetenim region in Ashanti are made of earth but remain in disrepair due to poor construction and erosion.”

The construction of Kente House is a way of showcasing an affordable prototype unit that can be replicated within Ghana and other Western African countries as a means of promoting well-being during times of accelerated growth.

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