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Nakuru Project Week 4 - New Arrivals

This week we welcomed our largest visitor to site so far in the form of a 40-tonne crane, charged with the task of lifting all forty timber frames into position atop the earthbag walls. Before work could begin however, the crane driver opted to ignore all advice and drive straight into the deep mud down one side of the site. Frustrations remaine...

Nakuru Project Week 3 - Less Flirting, More Working

We began week three laying the final earthbags, having packed almost 4,000 sacks with mud and laid them to form the enclosing walls of the new children's home. With this complete, attentions turned to the large timber frames which sit onto the earth walls and form the roof, front facade and first floor structures. The scene was set, with a caref...

Nakuru Project Week 2 - Ground Up

The second week was spent taking much of the earth from the foundation excavations and converting it into the earthbag walls for the children’s home. As the walls rose we received many visitors, keen to understand the new technology. We were joined on site by some of the local Kenyan women, who enthusiastically helped prepare, diddle and fill so...

Nakuru Project Week 1 - Hakuna Matata

Fuelled by excitement and a Wagamamas breakfast, the Nakuru Project team touched down in Nairobi on Saturday 19th July. Met by James, challenge number one was to pack our 44 pieces of luggage and 16 people into two Matatus (local buses) before heading west to Nakuru. Catching glimpses of Nairobi by night and experiencing the Kenyan driving style...

Chicken Shed Week 4 - Home Run

The final week of the chicken shed build saw many late nights and a big push to complete most of the work ahead of the arrival of the team for the main Nakuru Project build.

The main jobs included completing the roof and plastering over the earthbag walls. Whilst clay is a key component of earthbags, to help bind the sand and gravel together,...

Chicken Shed Week 3 - Butterfly Wings

This week was spent grappling with the challenges of piling earthbags at height and higher still, clambering over the timber frame building the main roof structure. It was also a week of two halves as disaster struck on Tuesday, only to be followed by a strong finish ahead of the final week on site.

We woke up at dawn as usual on Tuesday mornin...

Chicken Shed Week 2 - Diddling Away

Our wish for no rain at the end of last week's blog post came true as an unexpected dry patch has enabled us to push forward and regain some time lost early on.

The main focus this week has been to complete the foundations and make some headway with the earthbag walls. Earthbag construction is a very simple but effective method of building with...

Chicken Shed Week 1 - Levelling Out

As we gear up for the Nakuru Project which will provide a new home for the St Jerome's Children's Centre in aid of abandoned and disadvantaged children in Kenya, we have teamed up with The Mackintosh School of Architecture (The Glasgow School of Art) to deliver a chicken shed on the same site.

Inspired by the success of the chicken shed we buil...

Building Blocks

How and where the mud blocks have come from for our building is an interesting process, and one we’d like to share with you. The first thing to source is an appropriate machine welded to the right dimensions, in our case the different machines varied between five and six inches wide by twelve inches long. Once you have this machine you nee...

Structural Perspective

Written by Structure Mode, one of our long term partners and collaborators.

Having built a close relationship with Orkidstudio we are proud and enthusiastic to be involved with the Swawou project from an early design stage. It is great to see construction progressing swiftly and so now seems like a good opportunity to reflect on our experience ...