[Pulaar pron. / sydo nœv /, Rethinking Habitat]
Tradition and Modernity
Mako is currently transforming from a traditional, self-sufficient village characterized by its typical clay-huts to a modern, infrastructural and economic hub for the region. In recent years the community has recorded the arrival of new families and individuals, while strengthening its training opportunities and laying the foundations for an economy that complements the dominant agricultural sector with a growing service economy. The extension of the National Route 7 (N7 - Connecting Dakar, Senegal and Bamako, Mali) through Mako, the completion of a gold mine as well as the construction of a secondary school have been especially important in this development. These economic, educational and demographic changes are accompanied by an influx of imported building materials and techniques that has started to challenge traditional construction. Local building materials such as clay and bamboo have been increasingly repressed by concrete, steel and sheet metal, and the image of the predominant clay round huts is now being supplemented by rectangular, reinforced-concrete structures.
Recognizing the challenges of urbanization and fearing the loss of the traditional clay architecture, the framework for this project was directly set by the community. Discussions about Mako’s future built environment and the role architecture can play in the urbanization process have led to the creation of a local task force of community representatives (i.e. a mason, a welder, the president of a women’s group, and a youth leader) that has been working over the past year on Suddo Neuve. The local taskforce has been accompanied by an international team of university students of different disciplines. A detailed analysis of the local building materials and techniques (traditional and recent) and a continuous exchange with the residents of Mako have helped clarify wishes and demands the community has for the project. The Alanus Hochschule in Bonn, Germany has been our partner for architectural questions; under the leadership of Prof. Swen Geiss 20 students engaged with the built environment in Mako and designed concrete architectural proposals as the final project of this course. Students at Columbia University in New York, USA took over the engineering details of the projects especially in respect to testing the stability and structural characteristics of local building materials.
Over the past two years we have developed plans for an alternative building typology that combine traditional and modern ways of building: sustaining historic and cultural achievements whilst taking important steps towards a more developed and urban future. Furthermore, we emphasize the use of local materials and techniques to create a sustainable and low-cost built environment. In summer 2018, we hosted an exhibition of different design ideas in the community that was visited by many residents and recognized their ideas, critiques, and expertise. After talks with the local government, Oumar Diallo, a local tailor, approached us and expressed his deep interest in the project, offering his property to realize the construction of an exemplar building. Since then we have successfully adapted our plans to the specific property.
Starting June 2019 our project team will start constructing an exemplary building in Mako. The building will be constructed on a property along the main road in the centre of Mako. A 100m2 large plot by the main road in Mako will provide space for two different typologies: A commercial space will be constructed on the ground level bordering the road; additionally, two residential units will be built on the second floor and in the courtyard. The central location as well as the public character of the commercial space will promote the communication of the project content with the local community. In order to serve as a reference for future construction projects, it is necessary to methodically lead the project towards autonomous reproducibility. The inclusion of local craftsmen and the optimization of construction costs play decisive roles to ensure the long-term anchoring of this new building typology in the local building culture.
Once successfully executed, Suddo Neuve will have demonstrated new characteristics and capabilities of traditional building materials and trained local masons in using local natural resources for constructing contemporary and sustainable buildings in the area. Furthermore, the project will result in the production and online publication of an open source manual that will give everybody access to our plans and methods of participative architecture. In order to balance the cost of construction, mainly financed by grants and donations, with Oumar Diallo’s long-term rental profits, we have agreed that the rental income generated by the leasing of the commercial space will be versed back to Project Mako e.V. In an annual call for applications, we will then award a monetary prize equal to the rental income to financially support a community initiative selected by a local committee, thereby furthering the spirit of community collaboration in the long term.
Become a Supporter of Suddo Neuve
We are currently running a fundraising campaign for Suddo Neuve.
Starting in July we will regularly send newsletters and post on Twitter about the progress of the project. More information including building plans in English and German can be downloaded below.