TAMassociati: H2OS, the anti-desertification eco-village in Senegal

 

TAM Associati has just inaugurated the eco-house, the first stage of the H2OS project which envisages the construction of an eco-village in Senegal (in Keur Bakar, 200 kms from Dakar) consisting of shared spaces and housing modules that are autonomous from the energy and water point of view in an area where desertification proceeds inexorably.

“Desertification, the abandoning of schools, emigration: H2OS is a project that aims to give hope to all the peoples of the African Sahel” say TAM Associati. “It is a pilot project that is open-source, replicable, adaptable and which can be perfected in other places. It is the result of international collaboration, created from the ground up and inspired by Sunugal – an association of Senegalese immigrants in Italy – which is enjoying increasing support and which is destined to become a model of sustainability for the entire African continent through being adaptable anywhere.

The eco-village will become a symbol of eco-modernity built around the technical, managerial, and agricultural self-sufficiency of local communities who are the leading players in this shared project. Eco-dwellings organized around common shared eco-home technology will be constructed using unfired clay bricks in a community-based self-build system. The most complex elements of the buildings (headers, services and facilities) are handled by specialized technicians who train up the local workforce in the meantime.
On-site maintenance is part of the wider scenario of self-sufficiency and self-subsistence underpinning the project, a sustainability that is also reflected in the cost of the work, less than €200 per metre.

 

 

The village is located in an area without electricity, water, school or health services.
Creation of the eco-house project brings the first phase of the project to an end and as TAM Associati put it “The community eco-house, the heart of the new village, will be a ‘community house’ devoted to research, training, information, arts and crafts workshops and conviviality. It will be a public place for sharing and where the first cornerstones of the ecological project will take shape, ranging from the recovery of rainwater for health purposes to plant engineering, from filtration and natural ventilation systems to “passive building” and from energy production to the phytodepuration of sewage and the photovoltaic circuit. Nearby there is a well, a wash-house, a community vegetable garden run mainly by the women and irrigated by the water recovery system – a real “community garden” where the cultivation activities will follow the dictates of environmental compatibility, food and local culture “.

The challenge for designers, promoters and partners is clear: through African-based ecology the Senegalese project is a new proposal for a new type of modernity demanded by the African continent that is attentive to combining self-management, traditions, landscape and social fabric with opportunities offered by the best in international design.
As TAM Associati conclude “This is a non-invasive but participatory design that will become a cornerstone and a symbol of basic human rights, such as access to water, food and the possibility of living in places where people were born and which they leave by choice and not necessity”.

 

H2OS – Open-Source prototype house for ecovillages in Senegal

www.h2os-project.org
www.tamassociati.org