Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa, which suffers from persistent droughts and severe scarcities. Urko Sanchez Architects were approached by SOS Kinderdorf to design a residential compound of 15 houses where to run their family-strengthening programmes.
“Our most serious challenge here: a very small plot designated with a 15-house requirement. Located in Tadjourah, across the bay from Djibouti, the development was located on a site known for one of the hottest temperatures on earth.
With these conditions in mind, we decided that building the homes in a very local way – narrow streets that would shade one another, providing natural ventilation and corridors of wind flow – was the right way to go. In the end, what we did was develop and design a small village with open, pedestrian-only streets and playing fields for children and teenagers, almost an internal playground of gingerbread-house elements and slides. The houses in this village are closed to the outside; they look inwards, protecting residents from the elements, while providing privacy and excellent ventilation.”