The Government of Rwanda and the Western Province Karongi required assistance to build an entirely new “Model Village” – a role model for the Province and for Rwanda. I worked for the Government as an architect and technical adviser recruited by Adra DK/RW (humanitarian organisation). The village Bunyankungu is located a little outside Rubengera (Bubazi cell) and consists of 383 houses for a total of 1500 inhabitants with the possibility to expand to 700 houses. The project is part of the larger development program IDP (Integrated Development Program). The houses will be built to the population group with low income. I was responsible for innovative site planning and various cost effective/affordable housing typologies and house designs.
My main theme of the project/the village was variation – both for people’s wellbeing and for the beauty. “The final outcome was an outstanding and unique project. The project had well disposed village planning, good variation of the houses and resulted in a village as not seen before”, as the letter of recommendation from the Western province states (click to see the reference).
It has been a challenge to draw houses that were different, diverse and inexpensive. I have worked in general with 3 different house models (model A,B and C) which exist in different versions. The idea of these houses is that they can be grouped and composed in several ways – both for the variation but also to save costs for walls, shared installations, septic tanks and rainwater tanks. In addition, people can exploit their plot entirely with “Cross houses or line/row houses” compared to” the twin houses” and “single houses”, as these are located in the middle of the plot.
New building principles for the Rwandans were used. For example: the use of shared installations, septic tanks and rainwater tanks. The composition of the building bricks had been modernized. Previously the composition consisted of pure soil formed in a simple form. Now the bricks consisted of a mix between soil and cement. These bricks are produced manually on machines where the cement and soil are pressed hard together which reinforce the bricks (good experiences from South Africa with these machines).
The kitchens and toilets are moved from shacks outside to new locations closer to the rest of the house combined by a big covered terrace, which can function as an extra living room and “all purpose room” (drying and storage of crops etc.). Furthermore other aspects were changed – still respecting the traditions and the culture of Rwanda. Further information is available upon request (copyright protection).
One of my dreams is to accomplish the construction and help the completion of this model village Bunyankungu, that I started in Mai 2011. I want to help the government and motivate the people to get these future homes – so the remarkable model village will inspire other districts in Rwanda and maybe even other countries!
When I left the village, the last time in January 2013, there still had to be built many more houses and they still needed my help in order to complete the village.
I would have liked to contribute with my knowledge both to improve, implement and expand on the existing project and to develop further typologies for different rural housing situations, such as one and two story house plans and village planning – which is both affordable, possible to build with local materials and workers and has a smaller footprint, while raising the technical and architectural level of the buildings at the same time.
I have offered my architectural expertise to collaborate with the Karongi district and the Western Province in Rwanda. I have offered my creativity, technical knowledge and experiences from other countries. – my new way of thinking and inspiration! I even made a letter of collaboration so we could find sponsors for the project. The objective was to make representations to construction companies in Denmark. But unfortunately at that time it was not politically possible to continue our collaboration with the earlier mentioned authorities in Rwanda.
Now I am looking for new opportunities where I can contribute with all my experiences also in the field of construction work in the developing countries, but this village project will always have a special place in my heart.
More photos from the village Bunyankungu in my gallery menu on this site /gallery/Rwanda/The village Bunyankungu/