urko sanchez designs a car-free village for children in djibouti
all images by javier callejas

 

 

 

located in the horn of africa, djibouti is a country that suffers from persistent droughts and continuous water scarcity. within this context, urko sanchez architects was asked by SOS kinderdorf to complete a children’s village comprising 15 individual houses. the complex responds to the region’s extreme weather conditions as well as local community traditions.

 

 


SOS children village in tadjourah, djibouti
video courtesy of urko sanchez

 

 

 

the design team sought to understand housing in similar cultural and climatic environments, before basing their plan on three key principles. firstly, it was essential that the development formed a safe environment for children, with no cars permitted inside. consequently, this allows the scheme’s narrow streets and squares to become constant places of recreation. secondly, it was decided that there should be plenty of open space, with public and private areas clearly defined. finally, the team wanted to integrate natural vegetation, with inhabitants encouraged to take care of their own plants and trees.

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
the children’s village comprises 15 individual homes

 

 

 

all houses follow the same layout, but are arranged in different ways — placed close to each other in order to offer shade. natural ventilation was also taken into consideration, with chimneys positioned to discharge heat where needed. the project was possible thanks to an international team, with local builders helping in the village’s construction.

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
the development forms a safe environment for children

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
no cars are permitted inside the compound

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
all houses follow the same layout, but are arranged in different ways

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
natural ventilation and sun shading were taken into consideration

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
the scheme’s narrow streets and squares become constant places of recreation

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
public and private areas are clearly defined

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
the design team sought to integrate natural vegetation

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
inhabitants are encouraged to take care of their own plants and trees

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
chimneys are positioned to discharge heat where needed

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
local builders helped in the village’s construction

urko sanchez architects SOS children's village in djibouti designboom
the project was funded by the german cooperation aid

 

drawings

 

project info:

 

name: SOS children’s village in djibouti
location: tadjourah, djibouti
year: 2011-2014
client: SOS the children, international
architect: urko sanchez architects
photography: javier callejas

 

full team:
dji fu – chinese contractor based in djibouti
john andrews – ugandan architect based in djibouti
fritz bachlechner – austrian project manager based in kenya
estrella de andrés – spanish architect based in kenya
oliver kabure – kenyan engineer based in kenya