Call to volunteer / Architecture students design and build houses in Tanzania

C-RE-AID, a Belgian and Tanzanian NGO founded by the Belgian architect Freya Candel launched a call for interns to design and build 4 new groundwork projects in July and August 2018. Last summer 3 architecture students from Hasselt University and 3 from Ardhi University (ARU) in Dar es Salaam have designed and built 3 houses in the Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania. 

C-RE-AID explores the possibilities of responsible architecture and building practices to promote long-term socio-economic and environmental improvement. Their work has been published in renowned architecture magazines.

Here are the building projects of 2017:

  • Jakob Raemaekers (UHasselt) and Joseph Bategereza (ARU) have extended a house in Shimbe Chini, Uru, for Clara, a 54 year old single woman who is struggling to support her family of 4 generations. A living unit in local stone and wood is added to the existing dwelling as to create space for each generation to enjoy their daily activities. Both living units are separated by a removable closet, allowing for future adaptations. A large porch area supports social interaction and enables Clara to sell some of the home grown vegetables, eggs and chicken to make a living. UHasselt student Jakob summarizes his internship experience as follows: "It was simply fascinating. Almost to much and too hard to put in words. But I know for sure that I've grown as a person, as well as professionally, as a future architect."
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  • Femke Verheyen (UHasselt) and Nabil Abdallah (ARU) have created a new house in Mikocheni, a dry, semi-arid area south of Moshi, for Margeret, a 64 year old single grandmother who is taking care of her sick daughter and 3 grandchildren. They were living in very poor conditions. A lack of sanitation resulted in poor hygiene, and the traditional mud house was deteriorating rapidly due to the salinity of the soil. The new 3-bedroom house is used to introduce new, ecological building techniques in the village, such as rammed earth and mawe stone walls. A large overhang provides shade and protects the walls from rain. For UHasselt student Femke, the whole internship was a wonderful experience: "Realizing our own project in a small team with full responsibility, from calculating the budget to tightening the final screw, was an amazing learning opportunity. I've learned to think critically about a design, how to manage and construct a project, and I've experienced what it is to build for real people."
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  • Floris Akkermans (UHasselt) and Peter (ARU) have constructed a new house in Kirungu in Mikocheni for and together with Juma, a farmer, his wife Asha and their 3 children. The environmental conditions in this region (heat and aridity, heavy winds full of dust, regular floods and soil salinity) make it hard to grow food and to construct strong houses. The design tackles these housing challenges with a mawe stone wall that encases an adobe interior, shielding the adobe from the strong prevailing west wind and rain. The fragile adobe structure is encased top and bottom with a solid foundation and a double roof structure that helps to regulate the indoor climate simultaneously. Juma has learned to build with adobe, and the design is flexible, allowing for future extensions. The most memorable experience for UHasselt student Floris was simply living and working with the local family: "I could focus my mind entirely on the project, work hard from dawn till dusk and relax in the evening with the family and a few villagers. This is how I will remember Tanzania in 20 years time."
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Hasselt University has been sending student interns to C-RE-AID since their start in 2012. For all 9 participating UHasselt students so far, it has been a life changing experience to design and build in Tanzania, thanks to C-RE-AID and VLIR-UOS.  

Find out more about the recent call
 

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