Vertical Extensions of the Urban Swahili House: A Proposal for Standardised Two-storey Construction

A decent shelter is a basic human need. In developing countries, where the industrialisation process is accompanied by rapid urbanisation, the population solves their housing situation within limits of their own savings. Therefore the majority of people in Tanzania still live in temporary,sprawling single storey dwellings which generate densification of houses and exorbitant travel distances.

Occasionally settlement citizens are forced to omit job opportunities due to far and expensive transport.Not only in the informal settlements but in Dar es Salaam generally, houses with more than one storey are very rare. The horizontal development of the city may be a consequence of deficient economical resources, inappropriate regulatory framework and production techniques.

Vertical extension of houses could be more economic in terms of infrastructure provision, increase spatial qualities and generate important outdoor spaces. Created space between buildings will in its turn optimises cross ventilation and results in a better indoor climate.

The Swahili house is the predominant type of house found in Dar es Salaam. Its shape and layout are known by heart. Through generations, the skills of construction, has passed from one to another by practical participation. The change from rural to urban society now compels change in practice and building design.

For poor families, the process of constructing a house is a complicated, prolonged and expensive procedure. Due to high cost of building materials, builders are often forced to quality compromises. This study will introduce the technique using semi‐prefabricated construction elements as an option in affordable two storey housing.

The analysis indicates that the use of these components could increase execution quality and durability of constructions. Using block elements, the prefab technique could be introduced, in a small scale, to self builders and local artisans without the need of governmental support and large industries. Presented in this thesis are drawings for a vertically extended Swahili house type which may help dwellers to build a durable and affordable two storey construction.
Source: KTH
Authors: Kruse, Hanna | Torstensson, Lotta

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