orkidstudio builds a timber-clad orphanage in western kenya
photo by odysseas mourtzouchos
all images courtesy of orkidstudio

 

 

 

founded in 2008, orkidstudio is a humanitarian organization whose focus is to benefit children and communities through innovative design and construction. over the past six years, the association has completed a number of schemes that seek to explore the potential of architecture as a tool for relieving poverty across the globe.

 

for their most recent work, orkidstudio worked with a diverse group of individuals from a small community in the rapidly developing agricultural outskirts of nakuru, kenya. entitled ‘nakuru project’, the design challenges the typology of the typical african orphanage with a structure that houses the region’s disadvantaged and abandoned children. the new home limits each room to just four children, providing ample space and natural light for each occupant. the scheme is characterized by a range of different social spaces from open communal areas to quiet nooks and crannies, offering space to study, read or simply relax.

 

 


EMPOWERMENT
video courtesy of orkidstudio

 

 

 

known as the ‘st jerome’s centre’, the building is constructed from earthbags, utilizing the large quantities of soil generated from foundation, sanitation and rainwater storage excavation. the local soil, which has around 20% clay content, is packed into everyday grain bags and laid like oversized bricks to create deep, durable walls which effectively absorb heat from the sun, helping regulate temperatures during the cooler nights.

 

the dwelling also features a timber cladding made from pillar cores, a by-product of veneer processing and a material which is often discarded as waste. additionally, a rainwater harvesting system and integrated community tap provide a unique source of clean running water.

orkidstudio nakuru project kenya designboom
photo by odysseas mourtzouchos

 

 

 

completed in just eight weeks and with added help from a small group of architecture students representing schools form across the UK, there were as many as seventy people on site each day, including local women who worked alongside their male counterparts for an equal wage. many of the team have since been approached for work in direct connection with the project, including a couple of commissions to build more earthbag homes and help pass on these new-found skills to others.

orkidstudio nakuru project kenya designboom
photo by odysseas mourtzouchos

orkidstudio nakuru project kenya designboom
photo by odysseas mourtzouchos

orkidstudio nakuru project kenya designboom
photo by odysseas mourtzouchos

orkidstudio nakuru project kenya designboom
photo by odysseas mourtzouchos

orkidstudio nakuru project kenya designboom
photo by odysseas mourtzouchos

orkidstudio nakuru project kenya designboom
photo by odysseas mourtzouchos

orkidstudio nakuru project kenya designboom
photo by odysseas mourtzouchos

orkidstudio nakuru project kenya designboom
photo by odysseas mourtzouchos

 

 

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