Gewinner Kategorie „Living Together“: Prototype Village House
© Rafi Segal

Little details with big impact

Brick Award 20

Prototype Village House; Brick Award 2020 Category "Living Together"; Architects: MIT Rwanda Workshop Team, Photo: Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose
© Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose

Prototype Village House

Living together - Category Winner

Prototype Village House; Brick Award 2020 Category "Living Together"; Architects: MIT Rwanda Workshop Team, Photo: Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose
© Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose

Used products

Facing bricks, backing bricks

Little details with big impact

In Kigali, a prototype house has been designed to meet the specific needs of the rural population in Rwanda. This project has been carefully thought out, right down to the very last detail, and could be groundbreaking in terms of modernising settlements outside urban areas.  

Focus on local knowledge

The grey crowned crane is native to Rwanda, and this bird has recently lent its name to a brick building – Umusambi House. Professor Rafi Segal and his team of students from MIT-Africa applied their local knowledge to the design and construction businesses. Together with local companies, workers and the authorities, they developed a prototype house in just three weeks. The floorplan is simple, but ingenious.

Tailored to local needs

The long, rectangular shape of the building is perfect for the rolling Rwandan countryside and involves low construction costs, because it requires the removal of only very little earth. The house has an internal area of approximately 68 m2, which can be divided up as needed to suit the individual needs of a specific family.  In Rwanda, a significant proportion of housework and life takes place outside, so the project team was careful to incorporate plenty of covered outdoor spaces into their design. 
 
The mono-pitch roof ensures that rainwater can be collected and used, avoiding long walks to public wells. The transition from indoors to outdoors is marked by open and closed masonry, which allows light and air to flow in. The durable red bricks come from a production site near the village. 

More than one use

Although only one prototype was initially built, the project could result in entire villages being constructed in the future. The project has been designed in such a way that houses are arranged back to back in pairs. This allows them to share a chimney, water reservoir and wall, which, in turn, reduces the amount and cost of materials used in the construction. So, it is no surprise that this not-for-profit project won in the Brick Award category ‘Living together’. It has been sensitively designed to suit local conditions, supports local experts, and is a sustainable, ecological and affordable housing model.

Prototype Village House; Brick Award 2020 Category "Living Together"; Architects: MIT Rwanda Workshop Team, Photo: Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose
© Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose

Data & facts

Project name: Prototype Village House, Kigali, Rwanda

Architecture   Rafi Segal, MIT Rwanda Workshop Team

Client   Rwanda Housing Authority

Year of completion   2018

Product used

Facing bricks

Backing bricks

Prototype Village House; Brick Award 2020 Category "Living Together"; Architects: MIT Rwanda Workshop Team, Photo: Rafi Segal, Monica Hutton, Andrew Brose

Facing bricks, Backing bricks – Rwanda

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