a private residence for a tropic location
Mbweni house is a home for a retired gentleman, for his foster children and their mother.
The house has two skins -- one to keep the sun and heat out, and one to keep unwanted visitors out, from mosquitoes to burglars. The screen walls ensure a cool interior microclimate and a subdued, filtered interior light quality.
The space between the two skins the verandahs, loggias, balconies and galleries -- is added to the interior living area, providing outdoor living space, creating an intermediate world between the garden and the private interior.
The double skin filters the heat while allowing adequate air & light flow, thus guarantee optimal living conditions without the need of mechanical devices such as A/C and artificial lighting.
The double roof is designed in such way that is gravely ventilated. The first skin is blocking the sun and allowing cool air to push the concentrated heat out. The second skin is insulated, slowing down energy flow.
The house is oriented in such a way that welcomes kaskazini breezes and allows an unblocked view of the Indian Ocean. Screen walls and glazed sliding panes provide the necessary control.
Passive design eliminates the need for auxiliary cooling. An effective means to adapt to climate, reduce energy consumption, and provide users with a more natural, more comfortable space.
The roof is designed in such way so it catches rain water, leads it to an underground cistern with the capacity of 12,000 litres where the water is preserved for domestic use and irrigation. A non- electric water filtration system using Zeolite® filter media has been installed externally to clean the water and provide safe domestic use.
Additionally, a solar water heater with capacity of 200 litres is installed on the roof, located in such way as to absorb direct sun energy most hours of the day.
As inspiration, reference is made to both the traditional Swahili House of the East African Coast, with its barazas and protective double-roof, and the colonial Planters' House with its verandahs.
Yet the translation of these age-old and proven building traditions is done in a contemporary fashion, for a client wanting simplicity yet comfort.
dar es salaam 2016 - 2020
photos: Michael Shedrack