A home for 15 people in Tanzania
"Water is life, and because we have no water, life is miserable."
—Kenya 1997 (in Voices of the Poor, World Bank)
There is an indisputable fact, as an anonymous person said in 1997: water is life. And if architecture is designed to house life, it must also house water. This is where it all begins in this house.
It was a huge concern to create a system that could efficiently store as much rainwater as possible through a large deck just like “an open book”. In this way, the water meets the spine of that book, understood as a large gutter and leads it to two huge watertanks.
The house is configured from brick cross pillars that allow great flexibility in the arrangement of spaces. From this system, the program can be varied according to the future needs of its tenants. In addition, its implementation would be possible in other parts of the region, being able to adapt these spaces to the demands of other families. Inside, it creates a semi-open space that gravitates around a patio that embraces an existing tree. At the same time, this patio generates a much more pleasant ambient temperature by creating cross ventilation. This semi-open space aims to dissolve the limit between interior and exterior, a place to be, cross, rest and eat.
In the perimeter area is where the rooms that are divided into two wings appear: the west, destined for the bedrooms, with a space for study between the children's rooms; and the east, intended for the 'wet' rooms, where the kitchen, showers, and toilets are located. Small animals are placed in a module next to the patio without interrupting the circulation of the house. In addition, the inclination of the roof allows the creation of a second floor that is understood as a rest and contemplation area. At the same time, two spaces are created for the storage of grain and other types of crops and food that, being in a higher place, are kept safe from humidity and the surrounding animals.
The arrangement of the two pieces that are proposed —the house and the corral— in relation to two of the existing huts create a new place on the plot as a plaza. This square appears as a place of passage, both within the plot itself and towards other houses in the area, and aims to be a meeting place for residents of the surroundings.
This is how the home and the place want to host infinite “crossing stories”.