The project must meet certain architectural requirements and customer needs. This requires organizing 4 apartments on two heights in a geometrically defined rectangular lot. The land is inserted into a space whose urbanization process has begun, and the land opens on three sides in the contour streets, while the fourth side of the adjacent parcel is not built, but will actually be created in the future.
The land is oriented to the north with the small sides facing east and west, whose having the worst exposure has a negative effect on the microclimate inside the apartments.
The sub-Saharan climate strongly affects the volumetric choice, as it must optimize the energy response through the use of spatiality that creates shadows and vents and technologies that limit heat transmission.
Given the proximity of the land to the south, it is decided to take advantage of the orientation of the lot to create a natural ventilation that also cools the volumes and transport spaces in the hot air to throw them outside the rooms. These spaces also become places of socialization and meeting, as well as spaces designed to have flexibility depending on the activities or developments of families living in the apartments.
Based on these necessary considerations, the 4 apartments are located on two floors, one floor at ground level and a first floor. The geometry, although apparently simple, is the result of the analysis of the environment and the distribution of energy as well as functional.
The lower volumes are open on the street, creating a courtyard that allows you to think of a future possible union of apartments for a single family, and above all creates a system that promotes natural ventilation at the heart of the structure.
The development of the volumes below is in the east-west orientation, so the worst orientation from the thermal point of view. To solve this problem, on these fronts, they are made (through the wall of the lot) a path that creates a natural insulation through the presence of an independent environment. This tunnel is used to encourage the maximum shading of the volumes below, and to optimize ventilation thus reducing the different types of heat transfer. These tunnels are also equipped with a hole that improves ventilation and expulsion of hot air flows. From a functional point of view tunnels are paths that lead to the upper apartments.
The volumes of the upper apartments are cantilevered with respect to which below to allow access to the apartment and improve the need for lower shading.
The volumes on the first floor have an opposite orientation and they can not take advantage of an external solar protection, so that their orientation is north-south, and the east and west fronts are smaller, already optimizing the heat distribution and the isolation of central areas also through the use of insulating materials.
The two volumes on the first floor, while maintaining this functionality have different conditions, because the most exposed being on a free face the northernmost volume. Volume further south instead, enjoy the shading of the adjacent land and enjoys shading the north volume.
Based on these differences, it is necessary to characterize and manage orientation through openings and internal distribution. The volume of the North then in front of the road a number of wooden strips to create shade, ventilation and insulation as well as to characterize the architecture.
The volume of the south benefits rather from the same solution on the east-west exposed sides where they insist on the openings of the main rooms which therefore require insulation.
In both cases, the position of the rooms is optimized in relation to the flow of area, orientation and ventilation, to allow the apartment to live in the best conditions. For example, the exposure of the rooms is chosen to ensure that during the night hours the internal temperature is more favorable.
The two apartments on the first floor have a large, accessible terrace.
The architectural composition is simply organized with parallelepipeds or their intersections create spaces having certain roles or connection even in energy response. The individual volumes are pure to emphasize the simplicity of the form and better integrate the context, but they are characterized by the use of natural materials that even resources in the region. The development of insulation methods and natural ventilation through the ability to create filters, double skins and angles that create identity, charm and naturalness. For example, the holes in the tunnel connection cover, or a series of wooden strips, create a natural, organic and highly integrated architectural language. It favors the use of natural materials that best suit the end of strong heat of the sub-Sahara and give the opportunity to disclose a method of innovation on the territory, severely limited by design flaws and lack of specialized workers.The architectural language, while being contemporary, is inspired by the shape and distribution of traditional houses, with the use of local natural resources, integrating indeed in the context but representing an innovation icon.
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