A collaborative academic and research project in composition and architecture


CTR is a collaborative academic and research project aimed at strengthening the praxis orientation and interdisciplinary composition of architecture education in Africa.  The project is funded by DAAD and will be implemented by Bauhaus University Weimar, EiABC University of Addis Ababa and University of Juba.

Each of the three project years follows the same academic structure: Concept – Test – Realization. The project of realization (to build) starts with a semester-long theoretical course (1:∞) and, parallel to the main course, a second practical course in which the participants’ task consists of creating a physical model by applying design and planning technology, ending with a scaled (1:10) prototype.

The icehubs network, including icebauhaus and iceaddis, functions as a communication platform both by internationally connecting the partners and locally by connecting academia with private sector partners.

SECU – the first prototype

The Sustainable Emerging City Unit (SECU) is a constructional innovation in the form of a housing solution which is erected entirely out of panels made of compressed straw. The building elements – walls, slabs and roof – are made of single or double layered compressed straw panels (6 or 12 cm thickness), joined by threaded rods and casein-based glue. A secondary structural system is not required. It is calculated to be earthquake resistant for two-story buildings. The individual panels are prefabricated elements. The straw is compressed under heat, achieving material properties comparable to hard wood. The significant roof overhang and green screen of climbing plants give the unit its own character and protect the straw panels from rainwater. The floor plan layout provides a balance between open and enclosed spaces to provide the user with maximum freedom of use with 35m² on each floor and an integrated, water-resistant sanitation unit.

The design is based on standardised modules which can be combined to various design permutations and guarantees a simple implementation process. As an alternative to the standard mass housing, this represents a possible solution for fast-growing urban agglomerations and provides extra business for the farming sector near emerging cities. The prototype was built in Addis Ababa in 2012.

DOWNLOAD: CTR Project Flyer