Collection by Patrick Sisson

Modern Mud Homes: A New Take on Building in Ghana


A design contest wants Ghanaians to envision modern homes hewn from the material beneath their feet.

It's a problem of expectations; when concrete and steel symbolize modernity, how does a humble mud home become architecture that's desirable? The NKA Foundation conceived of a mud home design competition earlier this year to update the aesthetics and appreciation of earthen homes in the Ashanti region of Ghana. It's an important issue since new concrete construction, which relies on imported resources, often strains the budgets of middle-class families and results in dwellings unfit for the tropical environment. The call for single family and semi-urban home designs utilizing mud construction resulted in dozens of concepts from practictioners around the globe (the winning design will be built on site next summer). Dwell spoke with the top three teams to learn about their processes and how getting their hands in the dirt made them think differently about architecture.

First Place: Sankofa House by M.A.M.O.T.H. “There is no need to do a revolution in terms of sustainability, you need...
Sankofa House by M.A.M.O.T.H. Vauzelle and his teammates wanted to use local, traditional materials in contemporary...
Second Place: Eban Aya by Atelier Koe “Earth construction is thousands of years old.
Eban Aya by Atelier Koe Rowland also wanted to provide housing that breaks the stigma of mud construction.
Third Place: Ejisu Earth House by Jason Orbe-Smith “I wanted to use references without mimicking history,” says Los...
Ejisu Earth House by Jason Orbe-Smith Orbe-Smith divided the exterior of the home, meant to be painted with...
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