Vernacular architecture in Tanzania is quickly disappearing due to modern influences. Years ago Maasai were forced into sedentary lifestyle after living as nomads for many generations.
Construction is changing and the search for more sustainable techniques is essential. The traditional houses built with wooden sticks and mud are being replaced by fired brick constructions, since these are longer lasting and easier to maintain. Mud is very sensitive to rain and requires a lot of maintenance. Unfortunately, the new building materials produce a lot of environmental damage. This includes illegal deforestation due to the large quantities of wood required to fire the bricks. This is why the Women’s Centre has been built, as part of a master plan which includes the planting of trees adapted to the climate as well as raising awareness of the importance of doing this. Designed in collaboration with Femme International, a humanitarian organisation that teaches workshops about sexual education and personal hygiene to girls and women, the Women’s Centre is intended to be the reference point for all necessities of women from the village. At the same time it serves as a meeting place where different groups of women can store goods and organise their meetings. The ideas for the project were born out of several meetings with different groups of local people and included a meeting area that is protected from the rain and sun. This can accommodate about 50 women, with simple and comfortable seats made out of stone. From the outside area you have access to a small office, a storage space and a shop which the women can manage themselves and which could generate new labour and economic opportunities.