Living room constructed at Opportunity Factory illustrating the use of rammed earth and mass timber as primary construction materials.

Ardhi na Mbao Architectural Installation at Nairobi Design Week 2023

A glimpse into a more sustainable and inclusive future for housing in Africa and beyond


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In the pursuit of affordable housing and sustainable construction practices, Ardhi na Mbao an architecture and build firm in Kenya took visitors into the possibility of utilizing innovative techniques such as mass timber and rammed earth, in creating environmental consciousness homes.

Ardhi na Mbao is committed to green construction and aims to address the housing needs in Kenya among low income earners. During Nairobi Design Week 2023 their installation 'Leaning into the Vernaculars and Elemental Nature of Design,' served as a testament to their vision. The centerpiece of this installation was a living room that showcases the use of rammed earth and mass timber as primary construction materials.

The exhibit was constructed on site using rammed earth, a traditional technique, involves compressing layers of clayey soil to form sturdy walls. It offers numerous benefits such as thermal insulation, durability, and a low carbon footprint. Mass timber, on the other hand, refers to engineered wood products that provide structural integrity while reducing the reliance on traditional concrete and steel construction methods.

To enhance the experience for users, the installation incorporated augmented reality (AR) technology. Through this immersive tool, visitors explored the entire design and gained a comprehensive understanding of how mass timber and rammed earth contribute to affordable and sustainable housing solutions.