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“SICU-HOUSE in 10 days“ prototyping workshop in Addis Ababa

SICU 2013-09-28 the ready house in 9 days

End of September 2013, student and teacher teams from Bauhaus University Weimar and University of Juba joined their colleagues from EiABC, Addis Ababa to, within 10 days, out of prefabricated elements collaboratively construct a SICU prototype in scale 1:1 in the Lideta subsity informal settlement.

SICU (Sustainable Incremental City Unit) is a research project, as well as an academic experiment, by which students and teachers learn through practical experience working on a realistic challenge together with public and private sector partners. The project aim is to develop a prototypical alternative solution to the housing challenge for the low- to middle-income part of society in rapidly growing cities like Addis Ababa, where emerging informal settlements are currently being erradicated and replaced by standard “modern” concrete condominium complexes.

SICU demonstrates a contextualized affordable method to build scalable prefab housing units that can be influenced by the neighborhood community and be gradually adapted by the house inhabitants themselves. The finalized SICU prototype was built on an 8 x 8 square meter plot situated in a traditional “Slum” neighborhood in Addis Ababa, involving teachers and students from the three partner-institutions, as well as neighborhood stake holders and the local community in the planning and construction process. Previous design steps included scale model rapid prototyping designs and a first test-construction on campus.

This research project on one hand strengthens the collaboration and exchange between Germany and Ethiopia (through the Bauhaus University and EiABC) in the area of experimental construction, and on the other hand also helps establish EiABC, Addis Ababa as a regional hub of expertice, working together with regional partners like South Sudan to develop alternative concepts of African urban development.

The DAAD-funded “Test-Concept-Realization” project of which SICU forms a part was initiated and is managed by Prof. Dr. Dirk Donath of the Bauhaus University Weimar Chair of Computer Science in Architecture.

Learn more at:

View the assembly of the first SICU test-building on EiABC campus:


1:1 Test-Concept-Realization of SICU “Sustainable Incremental Construction Unit” from Jan-Ruben Fischer on Vimeo.


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