August 27, 2014

Constructing in Senegal: a Photo Tour

A view of Dakar, where our local partners DMT Architects are based.

After their most recent visit to Senegal – where we are building a new community learning center in collaboration with village leaders, local craftsmen, and a group of enthusiastic students from Mamaroneck, NY – our Lambaye Learning Center team came home with some amazing stories and photos. One particularly inspiring takeaway was that construction processes in Senegal are highly visible to the public. After the jump, we share some photos illustrating this unique transparency, including a look at local building methods.

This future hotel features cast in place concrete and cantilevered balconies, whose depth supports passive solar shading. Next to the hotel is an existing structure made of concrete block.
Regardless of locale, it’s always great to see women and men working together on a job site.
Some of the key elements of building with concrete block in Senegal. This process is strikingly similar to those in the United States.
Outside of Dakar, there are several concrete block makers scattered along the roads of Senegal, using molds such as these.
Concrete block makers, literally getting their hands dirty, before placing the blocks in the sun to dry.
Earth brick is another common building material in Senegal. Its isothermic properties allow the brick to retain the cool nighttime temperatures, keeping interior temperatures comfortable throughout the day.
The brick printing machine includes a customizable mold, and prints bricks one by one.
Rather than being kiln fired, the bricks are cured over several weeks. They are soaked in water each morning and then bake in the sun throughout the day, under a tarp.
After five years, this wall of durable earth bricks is still structurally sound.

Keep an eye out for future posts outlining which of these local processes, among others, we’ll be using for our Lambaye Learning Center project.