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Sahel eco-catalyst

This first prize award winning entry for the UIA organised competition ‘architecture and the eradication of poverty’ looked at the issues of overgrazing and climate change in the Sahel area of the savannah which suffers from increasing desertification and subsequent food shortages.

The proposal is a bio-climatic design consisting of a system of tessellating enclosures made from cleared and gathered dry stone walling and an earth block built chimney which pulls in cooler air through buried trenches working on the stack effect. At nighttime this cooler air condenses on the stones within the trench providing a small but sufficient water source for plants such as sorghum and millet to grow. The palm frond and hemp tensile structure over the enclosure is to give solar shade until the acacia trees can provide this themselves, by which time the hemp netting will be starting to decompose – its work being complete.