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modern traditions a new swahili housing typology


Chalmers University of Technology Göteborg, Sweden Department of Architecture Master Program Design for Sustainable Development Reality Studio 2016

Project group: Emma Anderberg, Matilda Leffler, Humda Malik, Salomé Nanitelamio

Examiner: Maria Nyström Supervisor: Inger-Lise Syversen and Catarina Östlund

Summary about the project Access to sufficient housing is a human right, however today the free-market system does not solve even the most basic housing needs in developing countries. Most people cannot afford adequate housing, not to mention people in poverty. Housing can no longer be treated as a commodity on the free market that does nothing to serve the poor. The state must become responsible for housing for everyone and reform and introduce housing

policies and financial support to low income housing and associated infrastructure. However, a system change does not come to play easily or immediately and implementing political change is not the focus of this architectural design project report. Our aim is to provide a housing proposal that can both work with the governmental strategy to densify existing urban settlements in a sustainable manner whilst also providing

the blueprints for an achievable goal; adequate, affordable and adaptable housing for current and future residents of Zanzibar. Over a two month field study we have examined and explored the Zanzibari culture and sought to understand and fully appreciate the complexities of its rich, historical culture. Through study trips, research interviews and workshops with locals we have learned tangible and intangible aspects of Zanzibari life.

With reflections from our analysis we have produced design principles and criteria for a new housing typology. We have looked at the affordability of the project to ground the proposal into reality and proposed the formation of a housing co-operative along with the benefits the locals may reap by doing so. We emphasis our role as simply ones that have produced a proposal idea that may be taken forward with further research and detailed design. 3

CHAPTER 1 The context


Table of content


CHAPTER 3 Analysis Chwaka

- Zanzibar in context - History of Zanzibar - Stone Town - Religion cultural heritage, tourism - Chwaka : history and future plans - PAD (Project Area Definition) - Case study : residential areas - Historical architecture styles - Household studies - The courtyard - Social spaces - The role of the women

- Our perspective - Giga map - Observations - Evaluation of sites - The village : analysis - SWOT - Climate study - Home study : typical Chwaka home

12 13 14-15


Design process

16-19 20-21 22-23

27-45 46-49 50-53 54-55 56-57 58-59

62 63 64-65 66-67 68-71 72-73 74-75

82 83-85 86-88 89-93 94-95


99 - Target groups - Concept : site and 100-101 building 102-103 - Design criteria 104 - Flexibility - Time-space model 105 106-107 - Co-operative - Incremental housing 108-109 - Materials and building 110-113 principles


- Masterplan - Implementation - Ground floor - The site - Building layout - Public square - Apartment layout

117 118-119 120-121 122-125 126-131 132-137 138-141


- Discussion - References - Appendix

144-146 147-148 149-163






- Current situation : lifestyles - Interviews - Workshops : Stone Town and Chwaka - Exhibition : Stone Town and Chwaka - Modern traditions

REALITY STUDIO - ARK495 spring 2016 - mpdsd Reality Studio is a Master’s course which takes students on a two month study trip to a chosen destination in Africa. The aim of the studio is to contribute to the real life development situation of the given place through participation with local stakeholders. Reality Studio fills the gap between education, development work, research and sustainable development. This year it was conducted in Zanzibar, Tanzania in collaboration with the Department of Rural and Urban planning in Stone town.

The design of the studio follows a five step process: 1. Read and discover – a systems-thinking survey of the local situation and context 2. Project area definition – the strategy and program 3. Project design – formulation issues and boundaries of the study 4. Exhibition and communication – inputs from local people for project development 5. Proposed design – reports and projects completed at Chalmers


My name is SalomĂŠ Nanitelamio, I come from France, as an exchange student for one year. I did my bachelor in Architecture at ENSAPB in Paris, before starting my first year of Master at Chalmers. I had the opportunity to travel quite a lot and live in West Africa for 7 years (Burkina-Faso and Niger).

Project group


Our collaboration with the Department of Urban and Rural Planning began with a debriefing of their recently developed local and national area plan. These documents are the first official documents produced by the department and so the current climate in the Zanzibar planning department is both that of organisation, new documentation and research as well as understanding and developing this new role. As Chalmers students our role was clearly defined to collaborate and contribute to the development plans

with a fresh perspective and creativity. Our group, consisting of 4 architect students were immediately drawn to the dire situation of housing. We cannot envisage a modern future without facing the very real situation of the living standards for the poor majority. And so this common interest brought us together to form a housing group looking to face the challenge of designing affordable and achievable housing for the poor.

I am Humda Malik, I come from Scotland where I grew up and did my bachelor in Architecture from Mackintosh School of Architecture. I have gained work experience as an architectural assistant in London and Sweden over the course of 3 years and now completing my studies at Chalmers. I am Matilda Leffler, I’m from Katrineholm a small town south of Stockholm. I did my bachelor in Architecture at Chalmers, and before starting on the master level I had a year off doing internships at two offices in Gothenburg. I love to meet new people as well as watching bad TV shows with my friends. My name is Emma Anderberg and I grew up in a small town south of Gothenburg. I did my first year in Architecture school at KTH in Stockholm and then transferred to Chalmers where I’m now a master student on the programme Design for Sustainable development.

limitations Whilst we aim to research, evaluate and design the best possible design proposal, we recognise that there are limitations to what can be achieved for this project. The limitations of this housing project are that: • It responds to the current and future cultural needs of Zanzibar on a conceptual level • Is a typology that is limited to the town of Chwaka • Affordable for low income

groups on a conceptual level Responding to cultural needs Research and evaluation of the culture by means of interviews, analysis, documentation, workshops and literature reading have resulted in a proposal that looks to respond to the current and future culture. Furthering this project would require a wider range of demographics for a fairer

representation of the locals, as well as collecting data to evaluate future trends of said locals’ living patterns. Housing typology With our research and evaluation of the Zanzibar culture, we have produced a design criteria for housing on a building and apartment scale. This project is however focused on and limited to the context of Chwaka. Afford-ability

The design project looks into incremental design, cooperative housing, sustainable materials and self construction methods to achieve an economical proposal. It is however limited to a conceptual level. Furthering this project would require additional research in terms of sustainable sourced materials, building properties and thermal comfort properties of chosen materials as well as building construction, methods and detailing. 7

Field study

February 26th - April 16th

February 15th

Read and discover ‧‧ ‧‧ ‧‧


Lectures and reading about Zanzibar Research on site, grasping the context Meeting the planning office

project area definition ‧‧ ‧‧ ‧‧ ‧‧

Identification of the problem Research question Tools and Methods Structure of the project

Analysis ‧‧ ‧‧ ‧‧

Site analysis Observations Interactions: interviews and workshops

june 3rd

Project Design ‧‧ ‧‧ ‧‧ ‧‧

Evaluation of analysis Design jam Sketching, sketching and sketching Interactions: interviews and workshops - feedback

Exhibition and feedback ‧‧ ‧‧

Exhibition in Stone Town and Chwaka Feedback workshop in Stone Town and Chwaka

finalize project ‧‧ ‧‧ ‧‧ ‧‧

Evaluation of work Compiling and digitalizing collected material Refining and improving design proposal Finalizing design proposal



Chapter 1 the context - Zanzibar in context - History of Zanzibar - Stone town - Religion, Cultural heritage & Tourism - Chwaka; history and future plans - PAD (project area definition) 11

figure 1. Balconies. Markes, S. (2011).

Zanzibar town


Zanzibar in context 1,303,569



896, 721



223 033








Revolutionary Council

Population of islands

Population of Unguja

Population of Zanzibar City

Population of Chwaka

Under the basic poverty line 12

Life expectancy

Population are Muslims

Population are Christians

Workforce are farmers

Most commonly owned asset

Households use electricity for lighting Use modern source of fuel for cooking

Adult literacy rate Households headed by females

Semi-autonomous territory

figure 2.

History The Zanzibar archipelago is composed of three principal islands, Unguja, Pemba and Mafia, together they are an autonomous part of Tanzania on the eastern coast of Africa since 1964.

and slaves. Over a period spanning centuries it became a melting pot of cultures, each imprinting their own culture on the island through language to architecture creating a unique cultural atmosphere.

The history of Zanzibar is rich and vitally instrumental to understanding the development of the islands. Arabs, Persians, Indians travelled across the Indian Ocean following the monsoon winds to the strategically located islands making it a centre of trade in spices, ivory

Inspired by the African American civil rights movement in the U.S. the native Africans rose to revolt in what was a bloody affair overthrowing the Arab rule of 200 years. The revolutionary office looked to removed Arab rule in all sectors and redistributed Arab land to Africans.

Colonialism, technological advancements and social structure changes all combined have led to the decline of power and wealth in Zanzibar, sending it into economic decline . What is left of the historic past is the Swahili mix of culture. The decline of trade and diminishing industry left Zanzibar eventually turning towards tourism. Tourism has steadily become a primary source of development on Zanzibar though it remains to be limited access to of

participation and benefit to the Zanzibari local. The current climate of development can therefore be understood by considering the following and how it affects future developments; centuries of colonialism, stalling the ability to self manage and navigate between interests of individual and state, the lack of industrial revolution and the growing internationally owned tourism industry. 13

Stone town Mji MkoNgwe - the old town


Stone town, the old part of Zanzibar town holds memories from over four thousand years. Along with many of the towns along the East African coastline, Stone Town’s development is highly influenced by immigrant settling on the island through overseas trading and cultural exchanges throughout history. The blending of African, Arabic, Indian and European culture; creating the Swahili culture, has influenced the architectural expression of Stone town and contributed to a vibrant mix of people and culture.

Zanzibar town is largely divided into two parts; Stone town, which is the administrative and economic center, and Ng’ambo, which in Kiswahili means “the other side”. It is the largest part of the city as well as the residential area for the majority of the population. The compact character of Stone town is penetrated by a network of narrow streets and dotted with landmark buildings, small open spaces and glimpses to the Indian Ocean. (Syversen, I-L., 2013).


Religion With 97% of the population being Muslim it is easy to see Islam in every aspect of life in Zanzibar, in the sounds, the speech, the food and fashion. Religion in many ways dictates how a life is lived; the 5 daily prayers structures the day and the beliefs and customs formulate the society.


The relatively conservative society of Zanzibar can be seen as an attribute of an Islamic society in terms of quiet night life and the use of public and private spaces on a neighbourhood scale to

within the home, as well as the traditional gender roles. However as with every society, the Zanzibar today has been formed and influenced by its long, rich and complex history. The islands have had a long history of having a diverse and accepting atmosphere of other religions (Christian, Hindus and Sikhs make up 3% of the population) and customs and so it can also be said that though Islam gives form to the identity as a whole, it is not the sole identity of the individual Zanzibari.

Cultural heritage Zanzibar is the center and guardian of the Swahili culture. Stone town is a of UNESCO World Heritage site and is “a fine example of how the culture has brought together and homogenized disparate elements of the cultures of Africa, the Arab region, India, and Europe over more than a millennium� (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, 2000). The heritage consists of archaeology, architecture, language, and literature, arts and crafts, jewellery and decoration as well as lifestyle, food and natural heritage.

The heritage is clearly seen to be on the surface as well as deep within Zanzibar culture. However the act of preservation and documentation of the tangible and intangible is not apparent by the current situation on Zanzibar. As UNESCO aids in highlighting the need to protect heritage from ruin it also enables it to be branded and sold and thereby exploiting the resources and the very heritage that is being fought to be protected (Shapira & Hellerman Planners and ROM Transportation Engineering Ltd, 2015). 17



Zanzibar is internationally famous, perceived as a “tropical exotic getaway” and “spice island”. Zanzibar’s tourism constitutes over 25% of the national economy and the entire economy has benefited from infrastructure serving tourism. The tourism has driven economic growth, provided employment and improved income and living standards for many, overall it creates potential for future development. However, a large amount of the income from tourism leaves the local

economy and the society is exposed to externalities. There is a focus on Eco-tourism on the island; tours, hotels and experiences that strengthens the local economy, but tourism also put a lot of pressure on local resources, water and electricity. In Nungwi the resorts line up close to each other on the beach, and the local community is not very present, but in Jambiani the tourist lives wall to wall with the local community (Shapira & Hellerman Planners and ROM Transportation Engineering Ltd, 2015).

Chwaka History and background Chwaka is an old settlement on the east coast of Zanzibar. It was built around the Diko; landing site for trade vehicles, boats and ferries to other settlements along the bay which was at that time, the only connection. By the end of 19th century, the town was a compact settlement with a radius of 250 meters. It was a regional capital in the early 1900s and was planned to become an important urban centre connected to figure 3.

Zanzibar Town, however little was realised from the town development plans of 1950. Up until 1964 Chwaka was a leisure centre for the foreign elite, evidence of this can be seen through the now decrepit rest houses left north of the town. After the revolution the development stopped. Other towns became regional capitals as new infrastructure bypassed the town. Not much development took place in the second half of the 20th

century. Tourism development, north of Chwaka, started in the 1990s but has not contributed to the village. The establishment of the Institute for Financial Administration, ZIFA, in beginning of 21st century however has provided ”a new dynamic” to Chwaka. A recent trend that is presented in the local area plan (LAP) is that people build homes that are “large suburban type” and fenced on agricultural land outside the village thereby creating urban sprawl. 19


Chwaka Bay Resort

LAP - Chwaka Suburban zone

Chwaka Local Area Plan

The vision for the future Chwaka, as expressed in the Local Area Plan (LAP), focuses on three major points: Road to Zanzibar Town

Possible location for light industry N

0 100 Scale 1:20 000

500 m

- To develop Chwaka as an educational centre of national importance - To protect the ecosystem of Chwaka Bay and enhance the related income generating activities - To revive and develop the cultural heritage and natural setting of Chwaka for the recreation for all As part of the plan outlined

in the The National Spatial Development Strategy (NSDS) urban sprawl must be controlled and discouraged. To do this the creation of regional nodes connected by a network of infrastructure will look to curb sprawl and uncontrolled development into the protected forest areas. Chwaka is planned to be a future regional node and through the LAP it is encouraged that growth will lead to densification of the town in height rather than in extension into the greenfield sites surrounding the town.




The call for urbanisation is the need for dense and modern housing. To achieve this, the transition from traditional to modern housing requires evaluation.

Adaptable and flexible housing for the future with reference to the past.

PAD project area definition The project area definition, PAD, is a method to investigate the questions, the issues and aim of the project. In order to create a successful design proposal and suitable design criteria, it is necessary clearly define the aims the project in full. Our PAD includes the background of the project, the context, methods used, immediate goals and the overall aim.


The mass majority of Zanzibar live in inadequate housing, solutions to raise their living standards needs to be considered. Currently there is an imbalance of gender representation in society, women need to be heard and have their input in decisions regarding their built environment.

Empower woman through providing opportunities to socialise, work and gain independence. Sustainable urban growth. Retain the strong sense of community. Create a neighbourhood for a plurality of people.


Incremental housing, conceptual housing layout (with reference to traditional housing and living patterns according to our analysis) Provide social spaces with varying degrees of privacy (within and out with the apartment) Plan for dense multi story housing and provide mixed use spaces and public spaces. Create a physical and social connection on an urban and building scale.


Define existing housing typologies Conduct site analysis of Chwaka Conduct case study on Michenzani to evaluate modern apartment living Interview and conduct workshops with a diverse group of women


Risk of gentrification in Chwaka village Risk of becoming exclusive -economically and socially Risk of low migration to Chwaka

Interview Reclaim Woman’s Space

Risk of sustainability aspects in the project are undermined in the implementation stage

Research local resources

Risk of little participation

Formulate design criteria for the new housing typology.

Risk of low funding 23


Chapter 2 analysis - Case study; residential areas - Historical architecture styles - Household studies - the courtyard - social spaces - the role of the women 25

figure 3. Streetlife. Markes, S. (2011).


RESIDENTIAL CASE STUDIES INTRODUCTION Our objective is to design a new housing typology for the developing town, Chwaka, on the East Cost of Zanzibar Island. To achieve this, we recognised the need to understand the local culture so as to avoid imposing a European building model on an African society with entirely different cultural values and needs. As a starting point, we explored and analysed local residential areas consisting

of local historical and contemporary housing as well as and internationally inspired/ led projects. We focused our analysis of mutli-story housing projects for two reasons; these housing projects were the most dense examples of multistory housing and second to learn from the mistakes of previous western led projects. Kikwajuni, Mbweni, Kwamchina and Michenzani are the four examples presented in the following pages. In addition, we analyse the

historical architectural styles as well as social spaces with a specific gender perspective; women. Finally, living within local families allowed us to truly immerse ourselves in the Zanzibari life and in traditional Swahili dwellings and doing so were able to observe on a daily basis how a local truly lives.


Residential areas KIKWAJUNI This area is located in the southeastern part of Zanzibar Town. It is a housing model originating from Germany. Local flats, from Zanzibar, already existed there before the colonialists arrival, but they introduced or inspired to build in a different way by the foreigners. Kikwajuni is close to the European style and would have been perceived as housing offering a modern way of living by locals. The buildings are of 3 or 4 stories high and made of 28

concrete. The plan of the district is structured, forming streets between the units and accessible by cars. The residents use the space in front of the buildings to park their car, though cars remain an expensive commodity owned not by many. As with many places we observed in Zanzibar , the balconies are largely used as external storage area and a place to hang clothes. N






50 m

Scale 1:1000


KILIMANI Kilimani is another example of German inspired housing blocks. The scale is a little bit different : actually, it appears as being a “mix� between Michenzani and Kikwajuni units. We noticed two general layouts in the plan : housing blocks that follow and face the main road, and blocks arranged in a U shape that provides a semipublic space on the interior, and a more intimate relationship with the other buildings. 30

The roads in this area are either damaged asphalt or remain as dirt roads. Vehicular access is to all residential areas with ground floor areas used for parking as well as social interaction. Balconies but also to dry clothes.







50 m

Scale 1:1000


KWAMCHINA Kwamchina is another example of a residential area. According to our guide there, this district was originally planned as a kind of social housing but in reality the flats there are largely occupied by middle and higher income households. Each unit is divided in two, with private entrances to service each side. They follow a “U shape�, which creates a courtyard in the central space. The two storey buildings also offer balconies to the flats as outdoor spaces. 32

This area is accessible by cars as well, the area has a lot of well kept greenery around the residential buildings and has a quiet, peaceful atmosphere.







50 m

Scale 1:1000


MBWENI Mbweni is entirely different to the other areas we have analysed in terms of housing typologies and urban atmosphere. Private houses are the predominant housing typology, they are commonly “modern� mansions made of concrete, steel and glass. Each home is individually designed though fences and other kinds of physical barriers demarcate personal properties.

social life on the street. It is clear to see that each property is taken care of whilst the street and common areas are not taken care of.

located just south of Zanzibar town

What results from these fences is a quiet and less apparent 34



michenzani BRIEF HISTORY The Michenzani neighbourhood was built in the 1970’s, just after the revolution in 1964, in Ng’ambo. These impressive buildings are the result of President Karume’s socialist agenda, as well as introduce “modernity for modern free people”. In this order, some of the existing “mud huts” were demolished from 1968. Only a part of the original plan was erected : the Michenzani buildings appear in a very clear way in the urban plan, shaping a cross surrounded by the old and irregular structure 36

of Ng’ambo. The European influence played an important role there, insofar as the major part of the design was inspired by the German style. Even though this project was perceived as the pride of Zanzibar by the government, it took time for the flats to be occupied by the people. Indeed, this new typology and design of the flats were too different from the Zanzibari way of living (traditional low rise Swahili house). N






50 m

Scale 1:1000

figure 5.

reflections from MICHENZANI No lifts were installed in the buildings and with building stories reaching 4 to 7 floors this severely limits the accessibility for the elderly and disabled. The lack of water and low pressure has resulted in residents installing their own water pumps. The water tanks are installed on the back side of the building, on the ground floor in order to avoid any damage to the roof. .

Our study of Michenzani has provided us great insight to the transformation from Swahili house to apartment living. And how the Swahili people have perceive, used and adapted their space and environment over the past forty years. Evaluating and learning from this example can constitute a great starting point for the design of a new housing typology for Chwaka.

re-examine the transition from the traditional Swahili house to a flat in a multi-storey building and also using the evaluation of how they have adapted multi-storey apartments to suit their needs. By doing so, we aim to produce a modern way of living born from within the Swahili culture in keeping with their social interactions and culture.

In our project, we attempt to 37

GENERAL ENVIRONMENT The street life surrounding the large scale blocks is highly active with crowded traffic, dala-dala stops, markets, informal kiosks and a lot of noise, etc. Compared to the urban settlements of historical N’gambo, the Michenzani is out of scale and has a dominant imposition on the area .



PUBLIC SPACE The streets are buzzing with life . Crowds are seen at all times of the day waiting for daladalas (local buses), activities of commerce and conversation provides for a constant background noise. The pavements are not the sole walking path. It is clear to see many informal paths formed, cutting corners and criss-crossing one another. The trees all along the streets offer shade over the pedestrian area and attract people to sit 40

there. Along the main road the area is mainly occupied by males for long periods of time whilst women tend to rest but not to socialise here. The �back side� of the blocks are calm and mainly used by the residents of the building. Children play there and formal seating areas have been developed by the residents under trees, offering a more semi private social space. It is also a place to hang clothes and/or throw waste.

FACADES The repetitive element of the faรงades has been broken up by people painting the walls of their flats, placing plants and individualised grills on their balcony. The balconies and entrance ways are mainly used for hanging clothes and a meeting place for the residents.

We often saw scenes of people talking from the upper floor balconies to other people in the ground floor, and using a basket pulley system to send/ receive goods without having to go downstairs.


ACCESS Two under paths serve each building volume. They allow pedestrian access across to the other side of each building. In relation to the entire building scale it is a low corridor an narrow corridor lit only why natural light and no artificial lighting. The staircases on the ‘back side’ give access to the several floors. They are perforated to allow ventilation in the circulation spaces. 42


Interview with Dida We had the opportunity to meet and interview Dida, 34 (approx) a resident of Michenzani, who lives in the second floor of the 8th block.


friends live in an apartment, but in private houses outside of town.

She has lived almost all her life in this flat. It was her childhood home and she now owns it as her own home. She lives alone but divides her time between this residence and her parents.

According to her, the barazas that exist in Michenzani are mainly on the ground floor and are created by the people, in that a formal bench is not required to have a baraza, people create social space where they can.

She doesn’t have many spontaneous visits but more formal gatherings with friends (at each other’s house, or at a restaurant). None of her close

That being said, there is no such baraza on the upper floors. Spontaneous greetings may occur in the circulation spaces but they do not cater

for seated meetings. “The old man living on the 7th floor will still come down to the ground floor to socialise”. Reflection: Michenzani lacks integrated social space to cater residents on upper floors. Social space does not need to be designed but space should be integrated into the overall design of the housing proposal to offer residents the opportunity to make their own space.


Historical architecture styles To get a deeper understanding of the rich historical context of Zanzibar we studied the various architectural styles imprinted on the island by the Swahili, Indian and Arabic cultures. Our aim is not to produce a nostalgic representation of the past but to determine what architectural elements work in


favour of the Zanzibari culture today and to be inspired for the creation of something new. We recognise the impact of history, heritage and traditions has on how people live their life today and to have a better understanding of this allows for a more cohesive design for the people of the local context.

Swahili typology The Swahili house is the most common building typology around the island. The houses are one story high and have two entrances - one formal with direct access to the living room/ guest room and one informal which accesses the courtyard in the back. The courtyard functions as a social space and separates the kitchen and bathroom from the rest of the house. A central corridor runs through the house with rooms on either side and ending with the most private spaces and courtyard. The baraza in front of the house.

The houses are close to each other, informally placed but usually in line to create lanes and paths in between. The original building technique was a wattle and daub construction with thatched roof but later became stone structures with a mangrove pole roof construction. Conclusion: Baraza offers semi public social space. Two entrances allow easy access to working areas. Courtyard is working and social space. 47

arabic typology


The typical Arabic house is a mansion over 2 or 3 floors. Externally it has a simple whitewash lime render over coral rock and mortar walls. The ground floor has public rooms and functions as the reception area for guests and celebrations. The upper floor(s) are private and for the family. The rooms are arranged around an inner, central courtyard that provides the house with cross-ventilation and light. The houses have flat roof terraces surrounded by crenelated parapet walls. The building has

a functional simplicity and is not ornamented except for the front doors, which are richly carved. The houses are arranged close to each other and create rather shaded and narrow streets. This type of houses is common in Stone Town but not in Chwaka. Conclusion: Courtyard offers a good solution for cross ventilation and the roof terrace offers social space on an upper floor.

indian typology The Indian houses tend to be ornamented with stucco and decorative verandas, yet the doors are simple. They are found in Stone Town and are usually three stories high. This typology mixes commercial and housing together, where the ground floor is public and has a shop that opens up towards the street and the second floor is the private living area for family. The shop front is usually surrounded by barazas.

Often this typology has balconies on the upper floor. The houses are organized to fit into a row of similar structures that together create a block surrounded by covered passageways for pedestrians. This typology is also typical for Stone Town, but cannot be found in Chwaka. Conclusion: Mixed use building combing residential with commercial activities creates dynamic streets. 49

Household STUDY Emma and matilda - host: bi aloweia To understand our host families daily life, we analysed several aspects of their home whilst staying there. We conducted interviews, maps, took photos and made sketches to study the family setting, cultural aspects, social spaces and the physical layout of the house. The principle family lives in Ng’ambo, just outside of Stone town, close to Darajani market. The family consists of Bi Aloweia, Muhamina; her daughter and Muhamina’s 50

daughter and grandson; Saita and Hilmi. The house is a one story building made of breeze blocks with an aluminum roof. They have two entrances, one formal, that leads to the sitting room where guests that are not family members enter. The informal one leads to the courtyard which is connected to the kitchen and bedrooms. The children and grandchildren of Bi Aloweia live in the neighbourhood and visit often.

Conclusion: The Swahili household is often a multi generational family living under the one roof. Informal and spontaneous meetings occur throughout the day with the informal entrance open all the time. A lot of activities are connected to the informal entrance, kitchen and courtyard throughout the day.






bedroom: Bi Aloweia




water storage

neighbour’s house

bedroom: Muhamina, Saita, Hilmi

bedroom: our room



Humda and salomÊ - Host: Naushad and Suhad Our hosts, Naushad and Suhad, have a guest house opposite their typical Swahili home. It is a two storey building with their son living on the first floor and the ground floor with rentable rooms. Their Swahili home dates from the 50’s. The couple has 5 children : 3 sons live in the guest house as well, 1 live abroad and the daughter is married and lives in Kilimani. They have a live in maid.


The wife, Naushad, spends most of time within the house or in the internal courtyard, and Suhad out in the external

courtyard. They eat dinner in the living space/internal corridor and at no set times. The sons spend their time out or in their room, and use external sink to shave and wash clothes. Conclusion: There is a formal set up of rooms, with the formal entrance leading to a formal guest room, whilst the second entrance leads to the informal courtyard space. External space is vital for social interaction and daily activities.


The courtyard Role and functions The courtyard holds a variety of functions. It is where the informal entrance leads and so where close neighbours, family and close friends enter during the day. It is the space to do laundry, cook and prepare food. It has a close connection to the kitchen which is always half-open to the courtyard. The main water storage is located there and it also a private

the courtyard is covered by a net of barbed wire to stop theives from entering

the floor is made of tiles - an old tradition from the times when the Portugese ruled Zanzibar

space to hang clothes. When studying the social structures in the family of the host families, all members (mainly female) stay in the courtyard at all hours of the day. It functions as their private area where they can perform activities without the need of the higab.

as seen on the baraza in the courtyard the water storage consists of large water tanks


Conclusion: The courtyard clearly is an important element of the traditional Swahili house. In low income households it can be seen as the heart of the house when space is limited and the courtyard houses a variety of functions by all women in the family, whilst in middle income households the courtyard is frequently used by the maid as well as the women of the household. The courtyard is the essential space that combines work space with socialising,

particularly for woman. It is a vital component for the female Swahili lifestyle. It is important to keep in mind that with the rise of modernisation of working methods (cooking and cleaning), the use of external spaces for such activities may diminish however the social activities outside may still remain and be desired.


Men sitting on the baraza by Jaws Corner in Stone Town

Women on the courtyard baraza

Men outside of a mosque in Chwaka

Social spaces the baraza The people of Zanzibar are very social. There are conversations going in and out with the home throughout the day. People interact as they pass by each other, at the market and on the barazas. The baraza is a bench, usually made of concrete, that is placed in front of the house or a building. The typical Swahili house also has barazas in the courtyard. It is a social space and a place to rest that may used by anyone for a short period of time. 56

During our interviews we have received mixed views on how the barazas are used. One perspective is that it is only used by men whilst others claim it is also used by women. From our own observations we have seen both men and female users of the baraza. It depends on the situation and place. In Stone Town it is more common for men to use barazas in central urban areas, whilst woman use barazas in quiet residential areas.

The baraza space does not require a specific model bench and neither dictates specific functions and yet plays an important role entwined with the daily life of the Zanzibari. It provides the space for casual meetings, a quick shared coffee or a 5 minute rest break. Strangely the baraza is not an integrated component to new housing developments or even to new private houses. A reason for this may be that modernity is sought in current and future developments and

modernity is often inspired by “western� design principles in which of course, the baraza does not exist.

Women’s washing space outside an apartment block

Men reading the headlines in the street

Women at the market

Women’s social space From our own observations we have seen more men roam freely than women in the streets, especially at night. Women tend to gather in groups and in “known” and “accepted” areas but perhaps do not have the freedom to socialise wherever they choose. Younger women were observed to socialise in public spaces such as parks and by the markets and they were always in company of other girls and if in the presence of males, the social group was mixed. Conversely we also saw the strong position

women held in the society in terms of running the household and also working. From our interviews, we got different perspectives on how it is to be a woman living in Zanzibar and what kind of social spaces are offered in the society, the perspectives differed from age and income groups. In general women meet at each others houses and during weddings and funerals. If there are both men and women as

guests in the house, usually the living room is designated to the men and the women have to gather in one of the bedrooms. The women from the organization Reclaim Women’s Space tells us that there used to be more public spaces for women in the past. They used to gather to play net ball and there were beaches specific for women as well as a cinema and a theater to mention some. These spaces have disappeared due to different political issues, but that spaces

for men to socialize still exists. Today with increased technological advances and globalization, there has been a sudden rise in the use of social media to communicate for the average Zanzibari. In many ways it liberates women to communicate with each other easily but on the other hand it also is leading towards a more isolated and interior lifestyle with less real life interactions.


The role of women “behind the vail”


Tabitha March writes in the article “Behind the veil - a look at the women of Zanzibar” that although the days of “teachers” telling young girls how to behave and prepare for married life are over, there are still many subtle clues which say how a Swahili woman should be. In the family, teaching young girls how to avoid disgrace and shame is very important. March goes on to writing that the local historian Farid Hamid states that nothing in the Koran says that it’s the woman’s duty to work in the kitchen or keep

after the house. Neither does it say that women are not allowed to work, earn money or hold political office. This being said, many older women remember, not even 10 years ago, when women weren’t seen shopping in the local market in Stone town. The general consensus remains that women run the home and men run public life. This limited role is a reason why we have chosen to focus participation with locals to women. (March, 2016)

Interview - bente said Bente Said is the Nordic consul in Zanzibar. She first came to the island in 1981 with a Danish volunteer service to teach architecture and construction. Talking about women and their social life, Bente expresses that the Zanizibari society is very divided. Men and women are separated with limited interactions. Whilst the men have the mosque and the baraza as places to socialise, women have the home. The only time they get to socialize outside of the home is during funerals, weddings or other

events. The task of the woman is to serve the husband and kids. The women usually form social relations at the market or when just passing but people like to talk and gossip a lot in the neighbourhoods and this limits their freedom. She states that there are many restrictions in society but also many double standards. Nowadays many people wait to get married. If you get a divorce and don’t have an education, you have to move back with your parents.



Chapter 3 analysis - chwaka - Our perspective - Observations - giga map - evaluation of sites - the village; analysis - swot - climate study - home study; typical chwaka home 61

figure 6. Seafront. Markes, S. (2011).

Critical perspective of the local area plan The local area plan is a well structured document outlining the aims and visions for Chwaka. However, the document is vague in its plans and seems to be a preliminary document that requires a follow up outlining in more detail the master plan for the town. As a result, we as students were to determine the urban plan and scale of development ourselves. This required a critical evaluation of the visions of Chwaka as they were presented to us through 62

lectures and the document. The conflicting vision of a dense, modern town with the aim of achieving only a small increase in population coupled with the current lack of basic infrastructure and inadequate housing for the town was both confusing and misleading. We proceeded with the project by regarding the local development area plans as a guide post to work with our project wherever possible.

giga map UNDERSTANDING THE CONTEXT In order to understand Chwaka village, the project and its context as well as the linkages to other systems, we decided to do a Giga-map. Visualising linkages led us to understand that we needed to conduct case studies on different types of housing. We therefore looked ar residential housing our Zanzibar Town and Michenzani. We also used the Giga-map

to understand the village and its aspects that relates to our project. The local industry in Chwaka, the relation to Stone town, existing housing and the University with its dorms were some of the aspects that we decided to look further into. Other aspects that we found when creating the map were impacts such as climate changes and strategic plans from the planning office.


observations Chwaka Our general observations of the village are as follows: • The streets are wide and with no tall structures offer little shade. • Most houses appear to be unfinished, but not new or current constructions. • Abandoned resthouses form part of the cultural heritage of Chwaka. • Animals roam freely on the streets. • The fish/produce market works as a social gathering space. 64



cultural heritage


the fish /producemarket


Evaluation of sites Having been well informed with the vision of the Urban Planning Department and their associated LAP, we knew what the development challenges were and how the preliminary strategy plan looked when visiting Chwaka for the first time. Therefore we evaluated 5 potential areas to be developed according to the LAP.


North or Chwaka (behind existing student dorms) -

Within the existing town centre -

Southern part of Chwaka town -

According to current local area plan further institutional development is planned in this area and there is a risk our proposal will be regarded as an extension of student housing or exclusion development. There is also no road or infrastructure to the specific site.

This area is the oldest built area of Chwaka, representing the urban heritage of the town. Demolishing existing used structures and displacing many residents is not what we want to achieve with this project. There is also the risk of new development being entirely out of scale and context.

This is the peripheral development area in the local area plan, we feel the development should be focused close to the centre of Chwaka and somewhat organically expand outwards rather than planned development detached from the town centre.

On the fringe of the town development This would result in a scattered urban development Site within the urban triangle, the new town We were naturally drawn towards the new town triangle, its central location, proximity to the seafront and bridging connection with old town and the upcoming institutional area to the north highlighted this area

as potentially being a primary development area towards the vision of the LAP. We were aware that the development of this central area will present a major impact not only to the surrounding residents but also to the residents of the entire town and this as well as how evaluating the existing buildings were challenges we saw as vital to address.




50 m Scale 1:1000


Urban fabric The urban fabric of Chwaka is one of low, one-story buildings knitted together in close connection to one another forming a dense built environment. Lanes and paths are formed organically by the placement of the buildings, which are loosely and informally placed. The new town is clearly demarcated by roads and paths making it accessible from all sides. It is well connected to the north and the town centre

and city square as well as the sea front. Walking paths running from west to east in the area provide access to the sea front physically and visually. The diagonal road running from the south to the north is a dirt road, its generous width and appearance clearly show its wide use and so can be considered as a main road.

existing settlement





50 m Scale 1:1000

green spaces The built environment of Chwaka has largely grown organically rather than through planned development and therefore jungle areas exist and encroach the urban fabric in countless areas. The green spaces that have been marked are therefore not these areas but green spaces that are used as public space and hold social space value for the community.

Within the new town exists tree-lined streets as well as mature trees dotted around the area. These are to be respected and enhanced with future development according to the LAP as well as our own evaluation.

Green/public spaces




50 m Scale 1:1000


Building functions There are a variety of building functions within the 5 min walk radius (400m) of the site. Residential buildings are the predominant building type in Chwaka town central. There are commercial structures (small kiosk) dotted around the town and within residential areas but most notably around the main road and first junction coming into town.

Student dorms and educational institutions are also prominent in the area. A significant feature of this site is its close proximity to the coastal front, with the beach and sea within 2 mins walk and being highly accessible physically and visually.

existing settlement institutions dorms commercial abandoned





50 m Scale 1:1000

Building conditions According to the LAP, the new town presents itself as an ideal area for mixed-use building development with its close connection to the centre of Chwaka and general location. Our observations and evaluation of the buildings coupled with what is said in the LAP conclude that the existing buildings to the south of the new town, facing the central square are abandoned/derelict and in poor condition. The majority of the structures on site cater to an exclusive group

in Chwaka (students) and this can be seen with the existence of fences around the buildings that serve them (dorms, cafeteria). The fences around these buildings tend to be solid masonry and at height that blocks visibility. We feel that to have an inclusive society and an area that serves a pluralistic society, such fences must be taken down and structures must be able to cater for many. For example the cafeteria for students may be developed as cafe that caters all. The other

fenced buildings are institutions that serve the community, such as the court house and community centre/computing lab. These buildings currently take up a large urban footprint and have been built in an informal manner, we feel that we can propose a relocation of these building functions within the site in better integrated locations.

not evaluated institutions relocated abandoned




50 m Scale 1:1000



Location - close to the seafront, University, town centre, student dorms Accessibility - from principal roads Usage – not a residential area, public spaces are used by the surrounding residents Mixed use - location of community centre Paths connecting the village with the seafront


swot site analysis By conducting a SWOTanalysis and looking at the elements of our chosen site, we could draw several key aspects in developing the area. For example, the location in the centre of the village makes the site appropriate as a pilot project in developing Chwaka. It holds the current community centre, which could be developed further to accommodate the whole community and the well-used sports field that also could be upgraded. 72

Underdeveloped infrastructure Fenced buildings No waste management Lack of building conservation Disused buildings Uncontrolled development Private services


Connect different areas; physical and mental Improved connection with the seafront Connecting local industries Creating local produce demand Offer new structure to existing functions Increased awareness about waste systems


Not an urban area today Gentrification Economy – no funding Too few people moving in Scale of development Speed of development Bad integration with the existing village – risk of becoming an exclusive area


climate study site analysis When building for the future in Chwaka, the local climate needs to be considered. As the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, the short side of the building should be faced towards these directions. They should also be more closed than the other sides to stop the sun from flooding in. As the sun goes in a very straight line, most of the year, there is a big need for shading, something that is lacking in Chwaka today. That needs to be provided both in the buildings, their 74

imideate social areas and the communal spaces on site. The monsoon winds are coming from the North to South , or South to North, so the apartments should be layed out in a way so that cross ventilation is possible. As the temperature is quite high during all months of the year, it’s important that the building can adapt to that. The building, and most importantly the facade, needs to be protected from the heavy rains during the rain season.

Average Temperature (°c) Graph for Chwaka

January January

19 19




18 18

18 18



Average High Temp Average High Temp (°C) (°c)

24 24

24 24





19 19 17 17 17

16 16 16

17 17

17 17




December December


15 15

19 19


24 24

November November



May May

17 17


22 22

23 23

October October


18 18

23 23

September Spetember


19 19 19

22 22

23 23

August August

24 24

July July


June June




April April

20 20

25 25

March March

25 25

25 25

February February

Temperature (°C)(°c) Temperature

30 30

Average Low Temp Average Low Temp (°C) (°c)







Precipitation (mm)

Average Rainfall days

average temperature for chwaka


Precipitation (mm)














Average Rainfall Days


Average rainfall in chwaka figure 7 & 8. graph. World weather online. (2016).


50 m Scale 1:1000



duck house


neighbour’s house


water storage


HOME STUDY TYPICAL chwaka home - house 1 When conducting the workshops in Chwaka, we got the opportunity to visit two of the participants’ homes that were located near our site. The first family was composed of the parents, two teachers who work in the primary school near the university, and their children. We got to learn that they had lived in their house for 25 years and that they had revived it from the government since they are teachers. They had a front 76

porch -without a baraza- and the combined living and dining room was located right at the entrance. Separating the main house from the WC, water storage and kitchen (the “dirty functions”) was a courtyard that functioned as the space for hanging laundry. The garden, which was shared with one other neighbour and was reached from the courtyard by a door. There was a duck house where the animals were kept.


bedroom garden

living/ dining







water storage

TYPICAL chwaka home- house 2 The second house that we were able to visit was located just a few meters from the other one. The family consisted of Amina who is 19 years old and was one of the members in the workshop, her mother, father, sister and brother. When talking to her, she said that they often had visitors in the form of her grandparents and the nearby neighbors. The house has no baraza or porch in the front but the kitchen and fenced garden are located 78

just in front of the house. When entering, the first rooms are a living and dining room and an empty room for storage or for working with seaweed. Then, there is a courtyard separating the bedrooms from the water storage and WC. In the back of the house is another bedroom and storage as well as a back door that leads to the road behind the house.

living/ dining

kitchen garden



courtyard bedroom




chapter 4 design process - current situation; lifestyles - interviews - workshops; stone town and chwaka - exhibition; stone town and chwaka


current lifestyles workshops and interviews Our aim is to design apartments that offer modern living but with a relation to the traditional lifestyles in order to accommodate both past, present and future generations. In order to do that we need to understand how people live today. The majority of our participants were female. With traditional gender roles in the society, women spend a lot more of their time in the home than their male counterparts and therefore have a larger invested interest in the design 82

of the home. We also wanted to give the opportunity for women to participate openly and freely in a relaxed environment. They were of different ages, religions, marital status, income groups and from different parts of Zanzibar. During the workshops, we asked the participants to map out their home by using cards with hand drawn illustrations showing different functions, activities and furnitures.

During the interviews, we asked questions about their home, their everyday life, their community and their religion and culture. The outcomes of these participatory methods have been very useful in our design process.

The house where she grew up, in Pemba

Interview With Mwarabou The second house she

lived in, in Bububu

Mwarabou is a young woman, who works as an architect at the Zanzibar planning office in Stone Town. She is married and has two young children. Currently, her family and her live with her in-laws in an apartment in Kikwajuni, right outside of Stone Town. They live there during the construction of their new house, which her husband has designed.

The apartment where she lives now. Her husband and her two kids are sharing one bedroom.

She appreciates living in an

apartment because it offers a very private life. They only use the balcony for storage. Sometimes, they use the entrance area coming from the staircase to sit outside. She expressed that she missed a space to hang out in the evening and preferably outside, something they had in the house where she grew up. The new house however doesn’t have any courtyard or baraza and it will be fenced to keep thieves away. The new

house has four bedrooms and two living rooms to offer gender separation when they have guests. Mwarabou believes that a wedding hall is important to have in the community as a social space for women.


Interview With mama abla Mama Abla is an older woman who lives in the ground floor of a house together with her 28 year old daughter. Next door lives her sister and her grandchildren. She has lived in the same house since she was born and her family built the house. The upper floor was designed to be rented out. She enjoys spontaneous visits from friends, family and neighbours and she often has guests but only invites people 84

for dinner if they come from out of town. Then, women and men sit separate in the house and the women often gather in the bedroom, which then is rearranged for the occasion. Each night a group of boys stops by her house after their Koraan class. She makes sure they have done their homework and then they are rewarded with a small snack or sweets. Her guests are invited to the living/dining room which is the

first room you enter when you come inside. She has small talks with people passing by when she sits on her front porch. Some women in the area arrange their own Koran class, which works as a social interaction in the community.

Interview With Halima Halima works as an assistant to a journalist and owns a hotel together with her husband. She has four children, but only two of them live in her house, the other two studies in India. She lives in the outer part of Stone Town in a small Swahili house. The house has one formal entrance to the living room and one informal entrance leading to the kitchen (previously courtyard). She used to have a courtyard but they have put a

roof over it, due to safety issues and rain. They have redesigned that space into a kitchen, and where the kitchen used to be there is a dining table, however they mostly have dinner on the floor in the living room. Eventhough she’s happy with that space, she misses her courtyard and wishes she could have had one. They have added a bathroom to her and her husband’s bedroom. She doesn’t need a dining room, people who have a dining room eats on the floor in

the living room anyway. The social space of her home is the living room, but depending on how well she knows her guests they sometimes socialize in her bedroom as well. If their guests prefer to be gender separatated, men sit in the living room and women on the floor by the dining table in the kitchen. She knows her neighbours very well, which makes her feel very safe since everybody

is looking after each other. People stays in the street on the barazas every night talking, playing, greeting. It’s mostly women and children since men go to their clubs where they have coffee and can discuss. She believes she has enough space to socialize. If she wants to socialize elsewhere during the evening, she either goes to their house, to Forodhani park or to the playground with her children.


workshop first workshop In Chwaka During the first workshop in Chwaka there were six participants. The younger people were easy to get started whereas the elders needed a little encouragement and support. From the workshop we found that practically everyone has a house with two entrances one formal and one informal (leading to the courtyard).


We also asked them to mark their favorite rooms, areas that they considered as private

and if there was any gender separation in the home. We found that the living room is the “heart of the home�, a space that both young and old marked as their favorite. The bedrooms are often considered as private rooms, and usually daughters and sons share a room with sibling of the same gender. If there are too few bedrooms the sons have to go live with another relative. According to the grown up women the baraza is a space for men, and so is the living room.

workshop In Stone town WITH DIDA In the apartment where she lives today, her favorite room is the kitchen, since she loves to cook. However she would like to have a window with a view outside. The apartment, that has two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living/dining room is big enough for her and she often has friends over for dinner. She uses her balcony mostly for hanging laundry, but also has a grill there. When we ask her to design her “dream home” she creates a typical Swahili house where

you enter the living room and have a corridor that runs up to a courtyard in the back. She says that this was the way she grew up, why it’s natural for her wanting this type of house now as well. Important aspects for a good dwelling is the connection between the kitchen and the dining room, which is something she has today. She would also appreciate having the two bedrooms separated by a bathroom. 87

Workshop second workshop in chwaka


The second workshop was a feedback to the work we did thanks to their participation to the previous one. We discussed with a group only composed of women from 20 to 32 years old. We proposed them an empty plan of housing, with a model to help them understand the space. We asked them to furnish the plan with cards we drew, but also to add furnitures or functions we probably forgot, as well as change the layout of the plan if they desired. We found that they removed several walls

to have more big spaces instead of several small rooms - and expressed their need to have at least 3 or 4 bedrooms for their family. They associated the outdoor space as the place to do the laundry and washing, but would like one part for social interaction as well. Inside the home, they would like a different living space separated from the men. We realized the same workshop with Dida who added that the separation between the private and public space is very important and should be clearer.

Women playing netball on a field

“The walk� in chwaka Understanding the neighbourhood

Women gathering for a funeral

We took a walk with the women that participated in our workshop in Chwaka. It was an extremely hot day (as usual) and it was soon evident that the only way to escape the heat is to go to your home, one of the reasons women also spend most of their daytime there. We understood that the neighbourhood is important and that there is a very strong sense of community in the area. Women and children play volleyball in the late afternoon

Women showing us around

on an empty plot. Every week, women gather in the computer lab (that serves as the community center) to have a general meeting. There is a small, local madrasa for the children and a Dharasa for women to educate themselves about religion, however there is no mosque for women in the area. In the evening they go out to eat Uruju and the men hang out by the shop. 89


With upendo means love We met with Upendo means love, an organization that aims to empower women by, for example, offering them an education in sewing. We got the opportunity to meet six young women - students and teachers - and tried to get a better understanding of their preferences when it comes to their home and their lifestyles by having them furnishing a mock up floor plan with cards. From this workshop we, once again, understood that 90

the living room plays a very important role but also that the kitchen isn’t considered as very private. They also proposed three different bathrooms - one “public” for guests, one for the children and one “master bath” accessed from the master bedroom. Having a separated bathroom for guests gave us a notion on the importance of privacy in the home. Double entrances and separate living rooms were other requests as well as having many bedrooms for a large family.

Workshop With RECLAIM WOMENS’ SPACE The NGO, Reclaim Women’s Space, is an volonteer based organisation that works with reclaiming and visualizing women in history based on cultural heritage. We were able to do two interviews and conduct a workshop with two women of the group. They stated that women don’t have enough opportunity to socialize in Zanzibar. There are too few structures in place. Since the revolution, the opportunities for

women to socialize outside of their homes have significantly reduced. Without physical structures, women stay and socialize at home. Before, women could socialize at clubs for sports, the cinema as well as at private beaches for women and children only. These activities and structures were taken down for political reasons. Anything connected to colonial power was destroyed.

These days women socialize during weddings and funerals. Growing up without these liberties, don’t knowing their opportunities because they’re not visible make the young women unable to see how dynamic the culture can be. Monira and Madina, from RWS, stated that the social spaces for men are still there though. They can go swim anywhere, play football, drink coffee and converse on barazas.



at the Planning office Before leaving Zanzibar, we had a last discussion with the planning office and the women who participated to our workshops in Stone Town. We organized an exhibition with our whole class, to explain how we used the information we gathered during these two months and what were the main concepts of our project. After showing our proposed master plan (layout and functions of the buildings), as well as two possible flats, we had the opportunity to have 92

some feedback through notes and stickers publicly available. We received some positive comments, specially on the connection to the sea we provided, the elevated public squares we wanted to create and the fact that we focused a lot on the context. They also stressed on the fact that we could have had a deeper look into some challenging spaces, as the kitchen for exemple (which fuel used, the heat, how is it connected to the exterior, etc.)

IN CHWAKA With the help of people from the planning office, we exhibited and explained our proposal to the Chwaka residents who previously participated to the workshops. A mixed group was involved in the discussion. A lot of questions were raised and they seemed really interested. We found that they agreed on the master plan and stressed the fact that we should really consider the street light, parking, the need of open spaces and playgrounds

where they can look at their children. In a smaller scale, the possible separation between gender in the living spaces was appreciated and the question of the place of the children, number and size of bedrooms were raised again. When they furnished the flat plan with stickers, we realized that they proposed a quite similar layout that we did. 93


Visual connection to the outside from the kitchen


Kitchen has connection to outside space


Modern traditions How traditions influenced our design Through our work and research we’ve explored positive and negative aspects of the existing and traditional architecture and way of living on Zanzibar. There are great qualities that make the architecture beautiful and the dwellings function but there are also elements and functions that we feel are lacking.

The life on Zanzibar is changing and it will keep on doing that but our hope is that the vibe and the strong culture will remain which is another reason we refer back to the traditions.

Bedrooms not wall to wall


Axis through the house


Outdoor social space in front of the house, “baraza”


Double entrances


Reception area close to the entrance


Light and air brought in to the building from an internal courtyard

Traditional Swahili layout

On the opposite page we have pointed out some of the elements that have been brought to our project.

existing quality being kept requested function Traditional Arabic layout


added function according to our analysis


Bedrooms not wall to wall


Axis through the apartment


Reception area close to the entrance

most public reception area - guests


semi-private - family and friends

Double entrances


Our proposed layout


Light and air brought in to the building


Shared “Baraza space”


Kitchen has connection to outside space


Visual connection to the outside from the kitchen


Large, flexible living space with sliding doors to offer women more space


women’s movement pattern

Levels of privacy

A more private zone of the home

Homes in Zanzibar are places for both guests and family. However, it is clear that guests are limited to parts of the dwelling, depending on how close they stand to the family. Some guests are only greeted outside the house, having a talk on the baraza - which is possible on the shared courtyard of the house - where others are allowed in the house. To make it easy to have guests the apartment have different levels of privacy. The most private part with bedrooms are in the far back and to keep the guests in the more public parts another bathroom is placed close to the front door.

From our research we’ve also understood that when there are manly guests in the home, the women usually go to another room. In order to make the apartment more adaptable a larger living space is offered. It can be divided in two by the sliding doors, and thereby offer separated space for men and women or it can be fully open to house events like a funeral or a wedding reception. To empower women, but still respect their traditions the layout is designed in a way that women can move freely through the home without disturbing the guests.



chapter 5 concept - target groups - design criteria - concept; site and building - flexibility, - co-operative - Incremental housing - materials and building principles 97

figure 9. Market. Markes, S. (2011).


Target groups Families Families from Chwaka from a lower income group, they participate and contibute to the community. Traditional gender roles in the family, families are multi generational. Requires affordable housing, that is flexible and adaptable with possibilities to expand the dwelling and change functions of spaces depending on their living situation.

Single household First dwelling

Younger person looking to live on its own, without getting or being married. Requires a smaller space with close connection to their neighboors and the communtiy.



Studies at the university in Chwaka and have the possibility to live indepentendly without the need to marry.

Teaches at Zifa currently lives with family in another and commutes to on a daily basis.

Requires small, simple and affordable housing integrated in a common residential neighborhood rather than in exclusive student dorms.

Requires attractive housing and community activities in order to move to Chwaka.

that their town work


professional/general public services

Existing residential area W

residential/student services

Educational Institutions N

Town centre S

Seafront E Sight lines from west to east are retained and created to allow visual connections as well as physical accessibility to the seafront.

New development integrates with surrounding context by providing public spaces/services on a north to south axis and east to west axis.

Concept for site A housing proposal in a new development area raises challenges of integration with surrounding neighbourhoods, retaining positive qualities of existing site and risks of creating exclusive development. To address these challenges we have looked at concepts on a horizontal plane as well as a vertical one.


Existing footpaths are retained and strengthened by forming streets along these paths.

A pluralistic community is created by providing a variety of services on the ground floor level of each new building as well as retaining areas for future single function buildings. Creating a socially inclusive neighbourhood free of fences and walls is the aim.

New developement relates to surrounding context by limiting the buildings to 2 or 3 stories that are closest to existing housings.

Concept for building The current and past local built environment has been predominantly of one story and low rise buildings. The community functions on ground level living. Social interactions and movements throughout the day, in and out of the home, on a level ground. From our analysis through workshops and Sense of community and close connection to neighbours is retained through bridges linking two houses and a shared elevated public square. These elements provide a physical connection whilst also providing visual connections to public spaces on various levels.

interviews as well as our own observations, we have determined that Zanzibari social life and community is very important, it is vital for the society to function. We want our proposal to retain this social quality of life through our concept of physical and visual connections.


design cirteria building and apartment From our analysis, interviews and workshops we set up some design criteria for the housing typology. These can then be implemented and adapted to a specific site. The design criteria work as a sum of the analysis and the step between the context analysis, case study and cultural analysis part of the project and the final proposal.



Sustainable building design

- Materials; all materials used must be self-managable and self-constructable - Provide a core house with incremental design possibilities - Apartments of different sizes

-Passive ventilation; orientation of building to allow passive ventilation to run through flats - Provide a roof where solar panels can be added - Rainwater collection - Limited direct sunlight

Public and communal spaces

apartment - structure

apartment - layout

- Ground floor has a communal space with public areas - Colonnade on ground floor to provide shaded space - “Baraza space” on ground floor and floors above with varying degrees of privacy

- Flexibility; able to rent out one room in the apartment and adaptable rooms depending on usage - Incremental structure; provide structure for different scenarios (from the first step to “finished” f

- Offer a courtyard; semiprivate area, partly shared - Kitchen in connection to courtyard - Offer different sizes of flats - Offer levels of privacy within the apartment


Flexibility/ Adaptability As the society, technology and demographics are changing all over the world, Zanzibar included, it is hard to predict what type of housing is needed and wanted in the future. A way of develop housing in a sustainable way is to offer dwellings that are flexible to different needs. On the macro level it can respond to demographics and social needs and the enabling of technical progress and the 104

Figure 10. Flexibility (Think Big Factory, 2015), CC-BY

housing stock can be seen as a vital asset with a long-term perspective. On the micro level it responds to the resident’s living conditions offering the ability to stay in the same dwelling over a longer time span. There are variations in the expression ”flexible housing”; alterability, usability, flexibility and adaptability to mention some.

An adaptable dwelling can be used in different ways without making physical alterations whereas the flexible dwelling is one that can be achieved by changing it physically (moving walls for example). The risk with the flexible concept of movable walls is that it’s rarely used and eventually abandoned. In our proposal we have been working mostly with adaptability why we propose rooms of a ”general size” that can be used

Adaptable room of a general size

with different functions, as well as the offering the possibility to extend the dwelling as the living situation changes. The ability to adapt the dwelling and thereby control the residential situation can provide a sense of place, pride and have positive impact on feeling of safe (Braide Eriksson, 2016).

Starting layout: One couple and two singles share the apartment. They have one private room each and a common kitchen and living room.

After six years: The singles have moved out. The couple remains in the apartment. and now they have two small children.

Time-space model scenarios to test the dwelling The Time-space model is a way to test different (fictional) residential situations to exemplify the process of the dwelling and thereby understand its spatial capacity. It becomes a tool to validate the capacity and range of residential usability on a shortand long-term perspective.

After nineteen years: One teenager has moved, the other has her own more separate part of the dwelling.

The method consists of a number of floor plans for the same dwelling but presenting narratives of different living situations, different scenarios (Braide Eriksson, A. 2016).

After thirty five years: The apartment has been split into smaller units since the request of large apartments is small.

Figure 11: The cooperative household (Braide Eriksson, 2016, p. 67-69)


HOUSING CO-OPERATIVE In developing countries cooperatives are created by the people themselves to solve a common problem, often unanswered from the state. They focus on achieving the goals set through self-management and in terms of housing this primarily means self-construction and the building of several units before allocation amongst members (mutual aid). The jointly owned business looks not only to achieve a common goal but also to stimulate local growth and to empower the community rather than prioritise profits. 106

Through the creation of a cooperative, the low income households of Chwaka can participate and have influence over the development of their own town and lives as well as have a say in politics. As an organised and registered group, the co-operative can partner with international, national organisations (NGOs and co-operative unions) that can support them in lobbying and negotiating policies of the government and associated bodies which effectively empowers the individuals.

PARTNERSHIPS Non-governmental organisations work in partnership with local groups in developing countries to support them with knowledge of democratic cooperation, the development processes, and policy making. In the housing sector, areas of support are as follows: • Land and secure tenure: support to gain access to land and secure tenure. • Public subsidy system: support in the lobby and advocacy of achieving a reliable public

subsidy system for the poor. • Access to finance: helping co-operative organisations with accessibility to finance, and supporting self-construction projects. • Organisational development and capacity building: support in training, lobbying, democratic organisational management and evaluation and monitoring activities.

Residents form a housing co-operative

They partner with international , national and regional NGOs and co-operative unions

FINANCING The costs of a new housing project include procurement of land; basic infrastructure such as water, sewage system and electricity; technical/structural building assistance, building materials and costs of financing (loans). Through a co-operative the Chwaka people can have access to more financial options such as co-operative savings, credit schemes

They have access to funding and a wider range of financial options

They have access to technical, organizational and capacity building support.

and micro-financing through partnerships with NGO’s and co-operative unions. Access to subsidies from the national government or from other international or regional donors may also be an option. Self build and incremental housing significantly affect the affordability of a housing project and therefore is central concept of our proposal.


incremental housing

”Do what people are doing already but do it better and help them” The Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena founded the firm Elemental in 2001 with the goal of alleviating social deprivation directly instead of waiting for a balance of income relations. On Elemental’s website they describe the background of why incremental housing is needed. They state that it’s now a fact that resources available are not enough in terms of time and money and to face this scarcity, the market tends to do two things: reduce and displace.


A middle-class family lives reasonably well in 70 to 80 m2. When there is not enough money to provide that, government and markets are, in most cases, able to build 30 to 40 m2. This is threatening the quality of life for the residents together with the displacement to peripheries where land costs less; segregating people from the opportunities that made them come to cities in the first place. (Elemental, 2016) (School of Architecture and Planning, Mit, 2010)

figure 12. Quinta Monroy. Palma, C. (2016).

figure 13. Quinta Monroy. Groundwater, A. (2015).

incremental housing our concept Good location

- Dense enough projects able to pay for expensive well located sites.

Harmonious growth in time

- Build strategically the first half (partition structural and firewalls, bathroom, kitchen, stairs, roof) so that expansion happens thanks to the design and not despite it.

Urban layout

- Introduce in between private space (lot) and public space (street), the collective space, not bigger than 25 families, so that social agreements can be maintained.

Long-term thinking

Provide structure for the final scenario of growth (middle class) and not just for the initial one.

Middle-class DNA

- Plan for a final scenario of at least 72m2 or 4 bedrooms with space for closet or double bed, bathrooms should not be at the front door but where bedrooms are; they may include a bathtub and space for washing machine; there should be possibility of parking place for a car.

Elemental states that if you can’t do everything there are three aspects that are the main focuses. The motto consist of; first, defining what is more difficult, what cannot be done individually and what will guarantee the common good in the future. In their work they have identified 5 design conditions as what they call “the ABC” of incremental housing. The goal is to balance lowrise high density without

overcrowding and with the possibility of expansion in the future. The importance in incremental housing is that people should be part of the solution and not the problem. The concept that Elemental came up with is called “half of a good house” which means that instead of building a 40 m2 house that is too small for a family, they provide a house which is half-finished so that the rest 40 m2 could be finished by the residents. (Elemental, 2016) 109

N “Developing countries need not go through the same process of development as that followed by developed countries. Instead these countries can choose to base all future development on the principles of sustainability.”

optimal orientation

- C. du Plessis

Building in a hot humid climate

good orientation

Design principles Zanzibar islands lying just 6 degrees below the equator, has a hot and humid climate all year round with temperatures vary slightly over the seasons. Building construction, material choice and urban settlement configuration must be considered accordingly to create the optimal thermal comfort and building durability. The main building design principles that need to be considered are:


• Ventilation; • Solar protection; • Thermal mass VENTILATION In hot humid climates wind is prioritized over shade, it is what gives relief to overheating and build up of moisture. On an urban scale this requires urban settlements of loose and staggered configuration, wide streets for wind flow and orientated 20-30 degrees diagonal to the predominant wind (regional or local).

Trees and shrubs can be used strategically to direct and deflect wind flows to desired paths (through streets and into buildings). Open ground floor improves ventilation of entire building and internal courtyards/wind shafts can create the stack effect. Thin, permeable materials for exterior and interior walls allow greater ventilation throughout the building. Integrated design for openings and maneuverable shutters gives user control of

ventilating spaces throughout the day. Windows and openings aligned to the north and south increases ventilation and lessens disruption of wind velocity. Ventilated roof structure allows for air flow and release of heated air through the stack effect.

Lightweight material roof, openings to allow cross ventilation above dwelling

East, west facades have minimal openings and screens to shade from low sun

Ground floor set back to create shaded walkway and more open space for ventilation

SOLAR PROTECTION Zanzibar gains around 8-9 hours of sunlight a day making shading a vital component of achieving thermal comfort. The following principles help prevent direct sun exposure: Sun shade devices (screens) placed outside windows effectively reduce solar radiation. Horizontal shades on the north and south facades are highly effective. Open areas to the east and

Reed screens where to provide shade from sun and privacy

Horizontal openings for optimal air flow

Ventilated staircase to increase air flow through building

west require shading devices such as planting, trees, vegetation screens.

ventilation and can also be seen as a way to provide security against intrusions.

Grass covered open public spaces eliminates the heat island effect by preventing heat absorption as paved surfaces do. Trees diffuse direct sunlight and offer shade to open public spaces as well as to facades and windows.

Openings should be large and horizontal, in order to allow natural ventilation.

Using maneuverable systems allows a more efficient use of natural light and natural

THERMAL MASS Thermal mass is an effective measure to reduce heat gain internally however caution to re-radiation of heat through thermal mass at night is given. Masonry walls can be used but require effective ventilation.

Trees and vegetation used to diffuse direct sunlight onto building and public space

The combination of thermal mass to resistance to water absorption is also an important factor to take into account in relation to bricks and blocks. Light weight materials with low thermal mass are suitable for buildings in tropical environments. The permeability to daylight and ventilation with openings protected by solar radiation is the greatest advantage of light materials.


Figure 14. Natural building collective (McIntosh, 2014)

corrugated steel sheets wooden truss concrete slab, post & beams “infill” CEB walls, not load bearing

Image showing the equipment and construction of an earth block

solid concrete walls of studio apartment provides lateral bracing

Concept detail of concrete columns cladded in CEB.

Building in a hot humid climate

CEB covered concrete columns



To build sustainable is to consider a complexity of factors regarding the direct and indirect impact on the environment, both in the short term and long term and the social impact on the society.

class income households and to achieve this through incremental, self-build and affordable means. In order to do this, comprise of certain factors regarding sustainability are inevitable.

During this project we have continuously looked at how to answer all matters of sustainable and environmental design until that is, we realised that the sustainability of the project is determined by its specific project aims. Our underlying aim is to provide modern, dense housing for predominately low to middle

The table reviewing materials illustrates the pros and cons of various materials suitable for the Zanzibar climate as read in the UN-Habitat document, “Sustainable Building in Tropical Climates” and “Appropriate building materials: A catalogue of potential solutions” by Stulz, R., & Mukerji, K. In choosing the materials for the proposal

we have prioritised thermal comfort, afford-ability and the ability to self-build and selfmanage the construction and built property in long term. The chosen construction mat erials are only but a suggestion of what may be used, we recognise in the case of taking this project further we would have to review the materials and building methods with a wider range of research. PROPOSED STRUCTURE Compressed earth blocks and lime render where required. We would also propose a manual for earth block building

given to the housing cooperative developed by the ourselves with the support of a relevant NGO or collective organisation such as “Natural Building Collective” based in Africa. Foundation and primary structure: Concrete foundation/footigng. Concrete post and beam structure with concrete pre-cast floor panels. Roof: Timber post and beam (eucalyptus) and corrugated metal sheeting Windows: Timber casement and reed shading screen.




CEB: Compressed Earth Blocks

Easy on-site production,durable, simple construction

Low costs



Light, Flexible, variety of constructions

Low costs


Suitable for prefabrication, quick assembly

Medium costs







Little to some skills

Manual block press

Medium, required stabilization


All except very wet climates

Low to medium

Traditional Bamboo construction skills

Tools to cut bamboo


Low, requires treatment

Warm climates, humid climates


Carpentry skills

Carpentry tools

Low to medium


Warm climates, humid climates

Improved method Medium costs of bricklaying, durable construction

Very good

Masonry skills

Frames, string holders

Very good

Very good

All climates










Excellent thermal and sound insulation

Low costs

Good but depends on workmanship

Special training in traditional skills and experience

Local thatching tools

Medium to good


All climates


Durable, waterproof cladding for sloped roofs

Low to medium costs


Skilled labour

Tile production kit and roof construction equipment

Very good

Very good

Warm climates, commonly humid climates


Lightweight material, Low costs highly reflective, quick assembly

Low to medium

Easy construction and assembly

Carpentry tools



Warm, humid climates


High strength, flexibility, great variety of forms


Traditional bamboo craftsmanship

Tools for cutting, splitting, tying bamboo

Requires protective measures


Warm humid climates

Low costs




chapter 6 proposal - master plan - implementation - ground floor - Building layout - apartment layout - Public square - time space model - incremental design 115

figure 15. Coastline. Markes, S. (2011).


Proposed master plan scale 1:3000





implemention IN four Phases

Existing situation

According to the Local Area Plan (LAP) ,Chwaka is planned to be a future reginal node with higher density and increase its numbers of residents. Since it’s hard to predict how fast this development will happen we are proposing that our design of the new “urban center” is implemented in four different phases. This way the development is more sustainable and the risk of empty apartments is lower.


Phase one

During the first phase a single, connected house is being built. This works as a “model house” and is supposed to inspire more people to request this type of housing. The buildings can fit within an empty plot which today is used as a netball field for women, so nothing has to be taken down. The net ball field is replaced to a plot slightly north of the site and is complemented by smaller shading structures since shade is hard to find in Chwaka today.

Phase two

During phase two another building is added next to the first one. But before it is built the existing functions on this plot is relocated to the opposite side of the street. A new community center is built as well as a new madrassa for children. These services are placed between the existing town and the new neighbourhood and thereby connects the two areas with its functions. They also frame a smaller outdoor space that could be used for gatherings in the community.

Phase three

In phase three a mosque is being built by the “entrance� of the area, that could also connect the neighbourhoods. Along the road down to the water three higher buildings are planned. They house offices as well as the relocated court house. At this point the existing cafeteria, that today is only open to the university, is being developed and opens up to the entire community to bridge the gap between the academic part of Chwaka with the other residents.

Phase four

Phase four is the last stage of our design. Two more houses are built towards the seafront which is also being developed as a park to handle flooding and stomwater. To connect to the seafront development and the possible tourism connected to this, cafĂŠs and restaurants are located in the ground floor of these buildings. The next step in the development could be that The Pelican is redesigned into a market to complement the existing one and sell goods to serve both residents and tourists. 119

5 6

Ground floor SCALE 1:1000


The ground floors of both the residential and the public buildings, aim to connect the new neighbourhood to the existing village. The computer centre that functions as the community centre is replaced in a new building serving the whole area in close connection to the new mosque and the upgraded madrassa. Located towards the centre of the site are communal laundry rooms for the residents, these spaces could also have other functions requested by the residents.










9 10









Scale 1:100









Scale 1:100


As shown in previous concept diagrams, the height of the buildings are adapted to the context. The smaller buildings, shops, shading structures and the madrasa are all one storey. Towards the North and the upgraded student cafeteria the residential buildings are threestorey going up to four in the South facing the new office buildings and the University. Also shown in this map are the exsiting walking paths that are kept and a base for the location of the buildings and functions. 121

the site public spaces As a part of the incremental design, the proposal is based on the principles from Elemental, such as the “Urban layout” where it says that the project should : - Introduce in between private space (lot) and public space (street), the collective space, not bigger than 25 families, so that social agreements can be maintained.

The social spaces are built into the construction which is linking two buildings. This secures that if the area is further densified in the future, the residents won’t lose their social spaces. The 122

roof terrace provide social space as well as a possible extension in the future. Also in the line with Elemental, a “core house” is provided, built by the proposed co-operative. That includes the basic facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens together with the structure of the house, pipes and stairs. We have made the decision to not look into the community scale. It needs to be considered such as roads, water, waste systems and electricity.


Site sections

Village - houses, shop, mosque

section A-a

Administrative buildings

section B-B 124



Proposed commercial street

Proposed housing building

Proposed housing building

The Sultan’s rest house

Village - houses, shop 0





50 m

Scale 1:1000






P 126





10 m Scale 1:200



ground floor scale 1:200 One proposal for the gound floor is to provide a nursery in the residential building close to the street and the existing village. By doing this it can serve the whole area and have access to the open area between the two buildings where a fenced playground is located. Also the ground floor has a public library that could help connect the students with the village. The common laundry room in the centre of the building

could be transformed if they in the future will have laundry machines instead of sinks and water taps as in our proposal. It could transform to serve as a space for weddings, formal gatherings or providing business opportunities within the fishing, gleaning and seaweed industry. The spaces in the ground floor could function as shops and the outdoor space as a market, either permanent or on weekends. 127









Scale 1:100

floor plan layout of completed floor plan In order to densify the area and make the accommodations as affordable as possible for the residents of Chwaka, we provide different layouts of flats to answer the needs of various income groups (students, teachers, young couples, families, etc). In this floor plan, all the flats are represented in their final stage or scenario. They are organized around our interpretation of the courtyard - a communal outdoor space, accessible by stairs - where they can socialize with their neighbours without having to reach the ground floor to have

the feeling of being “outside”. They are free to furnish the space as they need or want to to (for cooking, sitting, etc.). The openings are mainly on the north and south fascades, letting breezes go through the building. In addition, the “shaft” in the communal space is a reference to the traditional arabic architecture and allows light and breezes to circulate between the floors as well.



130 1



10 m Scale 1:200

the incremental variety Section, Scale 1:200 The incremental aspect of our proposal is present in different scales : from the master plan, the building, to the flats. An initial structure is offered to the residents, who are free to continue the construction of their flats according to their needs and means.

They still own the total footprint of the flat, which can be used as a private outdoor space, with a water access and shaded by the upper floor. The primary structure is already there and provide the possibility to extend the flat, adding walls as they wish.


Elevated public square perspective Recreating the strong relation that the Swahili architecture has with the ground floor, was one of the key elements of our proposal. Indeed, we wanted to preserve the existing sense of community and social space within a new structure, and thereby creating a vertical village. To do this, we have provided several “elevated public squares” which is a “platform” created by connecting two buildings together. This offer a possibility to for residents to recreate a 132

“baraza space” and interact on the different levels of the building. In addition, these spaces offer a semi-public area close to the dwelling where women may be more inclined to socialise. Finally, the bridges on the first and top floor are a reference to the Swahili architectural element used to connect the different buildings from above, further adding connectivity between the dwellings of two houses.



First floor, bridge 134

Second floor, elevated square

diagrams of social space, 1:200 0




10 m

Scale 1:200

Top floor, communal roof top space



Vertical village section - 1:200





10 m Scale 1:200

Our proposal appears as a vertical village, allowing social interactions between the different levels: from the ground floor (providing services to the community), the communal spaces (working as courtyards), the public square and bridges (where residents from two buildings can meet and socialize) to the top floor which is an open, shaded space allowing different kinds of activities and bigger gatherings. 137

Apartment layout Time-space model

Starting A student moves in to the apartment when she’s starting her Master’s studies on the university. During the Bachelor she lived in the dorms, but as she is older now she wants to feel more independent and live on her own, and also have the opportunity to stay in the apartment after her graduation. 0






Scale 1:100


After three years The student’s fiancé has moved in and since they are both graduated now they could afford to extend the apartment by adding two more rooms. They are renting the small room out to the sister of the fiancé who is now studying at the university. The couple is expecting their first baby.

After ten years The couple now have three children, two girls and one boy. The girls share the parents old bedroom as they have now extended their apartment and added a master bedroom and an extra bathroom. The apartment a little bit small at the moment, and they are sitting on the floor to eat their dinner. They are considering adding an extra bedroom in order to create a larger living space, but they can’t afford it just yet.

After twenty years The family finally extended their apartment and added a bedroom. Now they have one large living room that can cater for many guests and events and be separated in two if required. Their son has just moved out and they are planning on renting the bedroom by the entrance door out in order to have an extra income. Then the tenant can have its own bathroom and the family can still have their private part in the back of the apartment.


Perspective (incremental design)


core house

developed house



chapter 7 reflections - discussion - references - appendix


figure 16. Transpoty. Markes, S. (2011).

DISCUSSION Create a neighbourhood for a plurality of people. During the project we have had to leave some aspects out since time was limited. However, doing this it feels important to reflect and tie back to our initial thoughts. Therefore we have written short reflections connected to the topics, aims and goals from our project area definition.


Fences and walls define public buildings and student dorm accommodations and services. It creates exclusive areas and obvious divide amongst the locals in Chwaka. There has also been a recent trend to build large walled homes, in and around Chwaka. New sustainable development in Chwaka and in Zanzibar calls for inclusive development with services that cater for the many and not the few. Our proposal aims to do this with the ground floor of each residential house having public services and/or

communal space for residents. Our masterplan for the new town proposes varied public services around the site to cater for the entire community. Our aim is to create crossing paths of diverse groups of people and increased chances of social interactions. Critical reflection: Our proposal idea for the site is primarily subject to the supply and demand of goods and services in Chwaka. This proposal also calls for a deeper analysis and evaluation of the new town area in terms of

the circulation around and through the site as well as where all the current service points are around the town. The consequences of ground floor public services may be the creation of loud commercial streets that disturb the residents. Privacy of the residential areas may be compromised and finally the ground floor level may not be developed due to lack of funding and result in becoming occupied as a car park.

Retain the strong sense of community.

Sustainable urban growth.

Chwaka is currently a traditional village that has seen little development in the past century. Its community lives on ground level with dwellings built close to one another forming an organic network of lanes and streets. Like their urban settlements, their social interactions are largely informal, with neighbours and friends coming in and out of each others homes. This is a strong aspect of the community that has always existed and therefore was an extremely important quality to retain. By creating elevated public squares joining two houses together as well as bridges on every other floor the

According to LAP, dense urban growth is needed to curb urban sprawl and misuse of protected areas. Our design proposal on an urban scale and building scale looks to address the current local situation and integrate itself within its context in order to achieve sustainable growth as well as socially sustainable. To discourage exclusive development, we have introduced the concept of incremental design. This allows households of varying income groups to inhabit the same buildings, thus creating a diverse and inclusive community. By choosing materials

design allows for easy connections amongst close neighbours. Critical reflection: The intention of the public squares is to not only provide social space on upper floors but also to provide a semi-public space that women may feel more inclined to use. We do not know how this space would be used in reality. Questions of ownership of space also arise with those having greater access and visibility of the public square taking ownership of the space. Limited access to the public square could potentially segregate residents to general public.

and construction methods that allow self-construction, the project proposal costs lower significantly, making it more affordable for the local community. Critical reflection: The materials proposed have been chosen according to how easily they allow self construction as well as their thermal comfort properties in the humid climate. Further research is required to determine which materials are available locally and which provide the best sustainable solution. 145

Empower woman through providing opportunities to socialise, work and gain independence. There is a disproportionate representation of women in Zanzibar’s current society and though more women are literate and working as professionals there is still an imbalance of equal opportunities given to women. Through our proposal we have provided social space for women; better connectivity to the community in multi-story housing than existing housing provides and through the creation of 146

a co-operative organisation they have the ability to be involved in decision making for development that directly affect them. Critical reflection: To better understand the role of women in the current society, we would require further interviews and studies of more women, girls and children and their roles in society. We would also need to look further into the

opportunities presented to women. A question we have asked ourselves throughout the project has been, “to what extent can our architectural design proposal provide the answer to the empowerment of women?� Our proposal is simply a presentation of an idea that can be taken forward if wanted to, however we do not know how this idea would be received or even possible in terms of the current political and cultural situation.

Adaptable and flexible housing for the future with reference to the past. Zanzibari culture is deeply rich and diverse with traditions and religion playing a strong role in the lives of Zanzibaris. Understanding the cultural, traditional and religious values was an important starting point to our design proposal for a new housing typology that respects the past whilst allowing freedom to develop for the future.

Critical reflection: Flexibility within the apartments was compromised during the design process to allow for other design considerations. Taking this project further, we would like to work with the flexibility of the spaces within the apartment that also allows possibilities for varying degrees of privacy.

References Braide Eriksson, A. (2016). Residential usability and social sustainability: Towards a paradigm shift within housing design?. (Thesis for the degree of licentiate of architecture, Chalmers university of Technology, Department of Architecture). United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. (2000) Stone town of Zanzibar. Collected from list/173 Shapira & Hellerman Planners and ROM Transportation Engineering Ltd. (2015) Structure Plan and Urban Development Policy for Zanzibar Town: 4.9 Culture and Heritage, Zanzibar town: Revolutionary Government Of Zanzibar. Shapira & Hellerman Planners and ROM Transportation Engineering Ltd. (2015) Structure Plan and Urban Development Policy for Zanzibar Town: 3.5.3 Tourism, Zanzibar town: Revolutionary Government Of Zanzibar.

March, Tabitha. (2016). Behind the veil: A look at the women of Zanzibar. Swahili Coast, March-April, 42-45. Syversen, I-L. (2013). Intentions and Reality in Architectural Heritage Management: In Search of the Influence of International Policy Documents on Contemporary Sustainable Local Heritage Management. Case: Zanzibar Stone Town, Tanzania. (Thesis for the degree of doctor of Technology, Chalmers university of Technology, Department of Architecture). Swedish Co-operative Centre (2005, May 30). Policy Paper :Housing and Habitat (PDF). Retrieved from: SCC_Policy_HousingAndHabitat.pdf (2016, May 18) U. (2015). Sustainable Building Design Tropical Climates. UN-HABITAT. Retrieved May 19, 2016 Stulz, R., & Mukerji, K. (1988). Appropriate building materials: A catalogue of potential solutions. St. Gallen, Switzerland: SKAT. Retrieved May 19, 2016 EARTH BLOCK INTERNATIONAL. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2016, from


Figure 10: Think Big Factory (2015) Flexibility [Electronic picture] Retrieved from: Figure 11: Braide Eriksson, A. (2016) The cooperative household [Floor plan layout] Residential usability and social sustainability: Towards a paradigm shift within housing design? (Thesis for the degree of licentiate of architecture, Chalmers university of Technology, Department of Architecture).

References Figures Figure 2: Gomes, A. C. (2009, April 08). Panorama Zanzibar [Digital image]. Retrieved May 15, 2016, from Department of Urban and Rural Planning (2014). Chwaka Local Area Plan (PDF). Retrieved: (2016, May 10) Figure 7. World weather online (2016). Average High/Low Temperature for Chwaka, Tanzania [graph]. URL: chwaka-weather/zanzibar-central/tz.aspx. Figure 8. World weather online (2016). Average Rainfall for Chwaka, Tanzania [graph]. URL: zanzibar-central/tz.aspx. 148

Figure 12. Palma, C. (2016). Why Aravena’s Open Source Project is a Huge Step Toward Better, Cheaper Housing for Everyone [jpeg]. Retrieved from: Figure 13. Groundwater, A. (2015). A case for the incremental: Quinta Monroy [jpeg]. Retrieved from: Figure 14: McIntosh, P. (2014, April 20). [Add your single earth into the compressed earth brick machine]. Retrieved May 22, 2016, from https:// Figure 1, 4, 6, 9, 15, 16: Markes, S. (2011). Street level: Drawings and creative writing inspired by the cultural and architectural heritage of Dar es Salaam (2nd ed.). Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota. Icons by Denis Sazhin from the Noun Project (2016) Retrived from: All other pictures, photographs and figures are our own



interview - bente said Bente Said is the Nordic consulate in Zanzibar. She came to the island in 1981 with a Danish volunteer service to teach architecture construction and drawing. The first three years of her stay she lived in Michenzani, block 8 on the 7th floor with her two children. “If I hadn’t started in Michenzani, I wouldn’t have stayed in Zanzibar.” Her experience of that way of living was that she became a part of the community, as her neighbours were very curios of her. She expresses that everyone on the same floor knew each other and their social gathering was the staircase. It could even be overwhelming sometimes. When first coming to Tanzania as a volunteer, she had to do an introduction course in Arusha to learn some Swahili, the kids has to learn English 150

and they had a first experience of the culture. Talking about Michenzani and the history, Bente explains that the drawings for the apartment blocks came from East Germany. They were built in the late 60s and there was no fieldwork done. At certain times in there was no water for the apartments so they had to pump water during the night when it came back. She used to take her kids to a pool during the day to save water. Washing and cooking was not easy in the apartment as many people still used firewood and charcoal. Living on the 7th floor and very close to the roof was hot so sometimes they slept on a mattress on the balcony. After three years she moved to a house just outside of Stone town. It was a British inspired house built in the 1950s. Initially there were a lot of foreigners living in the area but not anymore. After staying

for a couple of years her kids moved back to Europe to continue their education. When working as an architect she met her husband that was from Zanzibar. He worked for the department of housing in Michenzani and hade studied architecture in Germany for 7 years. They were married for 22 years. Though having lived in Germany, her husband did not want to move to Europe so they remained in Zanzibar. Her husband did not take care of the house or the kids; that was her task. Last year she got married again to a man from Oman. He is very traditional, more than she expected. Talking about women and their social life Bente expresses that the Zanizibari society is very divided. Men and women are separated with limited interactions. The men have the mosque and the baraza when women have the home. The only time they get to socialize outside of the home is for funerals, weddings and other events. The task of the

woman is to service the husband and kids. The man is in charge of the household and makes the decisions. Some women work to earn their own money, which is then theirs to keep. The women usually form social relations at the market or when just passing but people like to talk and gossip a lot in the neighbourhood. “As a woman your freedom lies in your connection to other women.” A trend that Bente can see is that younger women cover themselves more today than when she first moved. She can also see more young couples moving together outside in the evenings. She states that there are many restrictions in society but also so much double standard. Nowadays many people wait to get married. If you get a divorce and don’t have an education, you have to move back with your parents or become someone’s mistress. Even within the marriage women are insecure about whether their husband is going to find another wife.

interview - Mwarabu Mwarabou is one of the urban planners in the Department of Urban and Rural planning in Stone town. She was born in Pemba, the island just north of Unguja. She and her family moved to Bububu in Zanzibar town in 2003 due to that she had received high grades in school. She went to university in Dar es Salaam and that was where she met her husband. They moved to Fuoni after getting married and rented a traditional Swahili house. Now she lives with her in laws in an apartment in Kilimani while their new home in Tungo is being built. The in laws own the apartment that has two bedrooms and is currently housing six people; Mwarabou, her husband who is an architect, their two children and the husband’s parents. The in laws have lived in the apartment for a long time and

her husband grew up there. The apartment is on the 5th floor and she likes living in an apartment because it offers a very private life. They don’t use the balcony, only for storage but sometimes they use the entrance area coming from the staircase to sit outside. She express that she miss a space to hang out in the evening and preferably outside.

themselves there. Although the area has no streetlights it doesn’t affect her feelings of safety. People are used to no streetlights and some light comes from the apartments.

They don’t know their neighbours, one neighbour is referred to as a ‘crazy’ man and so the avoid him.

The housing quarter has a madrasa, a place where children go to learn the Quran. The mosque is at a walkable distance but women do not go there. Only men are allowed to go to the mosque and women pray at home. Since the women don’t have a defined social space they usually meet and talk at the local salon.

Her daughter who is one and a and half years old is looked after during the days by her mother-in-law’s friend and her son, two and half years goes to nursery. Mwarabou thinks that the area of Kilimani is very safe and the ground level as safe enough for children to play outside. The only risk would be the staircase because the children are too small to play by

Mwarabou sometimes have friends coming over informally for shorter impromptu visits. They usually don’t have formal family dinners, as there is no space in the apartment. If they have male guests the women goes in to the bedroom as well as if the husband have friends over. Her husband spends most of his time out of the house socializing with friends and playing pool and going to the beach. Though living close to the

beach Mwarabou doesn’t go there because of her religion. Her new home is located in Tungo, a 30 min commute to Stone town. Her husband designed it with some inputs from her. It has four bedrooms and two living rooms but no baraza or courtyard. It will also be fenced to keep thieves away. She has no maid today but plans to have one in her new home, to look after her children when she is at work. She wishes she did not have to work but works to have her own money and independence. Mwarabou believe that a wedding hall is very important to have in the community for the women. That is where the woman can socialize.


interview - dida Dida is one of the hosts for the homestay in the course and this is the first time she has students living with her. She is working for the government in the department of trade. She lives in Michenzani, just on the other side of Creek road that separates Stone town with Ng’ambo. Dida lives in the Michenzani block number 8. Dida was born and raised in the apartment that she lives in now. She lived there with her parents and younger sister for many years until they moved to a private house outside of town, close to Fumba. When they moved the loaned the apartment to friends or family until her sister moved back. Dida moved to the apartment in 2013 when her sister moved to Sweden to stay with her Swedish husband. When living with her parents outside of town, she commuted to Stone town to go to school. 152

She spends most of her time in the kitchen as she loves to cook and she really enjoys her kitchen, even though she would love to have a view to see outside. Today, the kitchen has small windows close to the ceiling only for ventilation and a little daylight. She usually buys her food at Darajani Market. Since she got divorced a couple of years back she spends a lot of time at her mom's house. When she finish work at 3.30 pm she goes there to talk and socialize before she goes home to her place at around 6 pm.

close friends live in the apartment; all of them live in private houses outside of town.

These days there aren't many spontaneous visits, but instead she has more formal gatherings with friends. They go to each other's house or to a restaurant or bar to have dinner and more intellectual conversations. When she was younger she went out dancing but now she has a bigger need to sleep at night. None of her

On Sundays Dida goes to the Women's market close by which she's involved with. She goes there to use her knowledge in order to make other people empower themselves. She gives advice to women selling food on how to develop their business.

Dida knows everyone in her staircase and some people in the upper floors. According to her, the most common age group is people between 30 and 40, and less people over 50 than before. She has a very close connection to her nextdoor neighbour. They keep track of each other and makes sure nothing happens to one each other or the apartment. She also knows a lot of people in the smaller one -storey houses just below the building blocks.

When asked about the barazas and the culture with people sitting and

socializing and watching people passing by, Dida says that the barazas still exist in Michenzani. There are some barazas on the ground, connected to the houses. She also explains that the staircases as well as the access area to the apartments have the same function as the barazas. People create their own "baraza space" - like the area around the air hockey game where a lot of people gather. People on the top floor travel the stairs a lot, up and down, however she thinks that they stay down on the ground longer and maybe stays up in their apartments when they go back up. People don‘t complain about living on the 7th floor except for the fact that it becomes extremely hot up there. One problem she brings up that comes with living on for example the 7th floor is the funeral ceremony because it's almost impossible to bring up the person who has passed away all the way up there. The solution to this is either that you

borrow your neighbours' apartment on ground level or that the ceremony is being held at another relative’s apartment. There is a space for these ceremonies at the local mosque. Dida explains that young mothers today have to struggle more than when she was young. Before, the community was more involved in helping each other out and taking care of the kids in the neighbourhood. Now, when everyone wants to live a more “modern” life, they are more independent and busy with their own life. She says that there are some day care centres and nurseries in the area, but it’s not the most common way. During the interview, Dida tells us about the history of Michenzani. That it’s not the first example of this type of apartment blocks. They were designed after the revolution in 1964 when the government wanted to offer good living for people. Each region have it's own centre with services like the one in Michenzani. Gamba is a similar area that is located close

to Nungwi in the north of Unguja. These areas were also developed on Pemba and the intention was to avoid urbanization according to Dida.

Dida explains that she is very proud of her neighbourhood and feels safe here. She's also proud of the fact that locals helped building the blocks.

When the blocks were first built the water systems was good enough to reach the top floors, up to 7th. Nowadays, almost everyone have their own water tank on the ground floor due to that the building is not constructed to handle the pressure keeping them on the roof. The roof of the buildings was initially designed to be used by the inhabitants, both for socializing and as a way to access the different staircase and thereby go visit your neighbours more easily. Dida and her friends used the roof for playing when she was a child, but children today are more focused on technical products and therefore aren't using that space, she says. Another reason it's not used is due to safety. It’s the risk of getting robbed if you use it as a passage to your neighbour and sometimes the space is used for selling and using drugs. Due to this they've put up gates in order to limit the access.

A year back there was a workshop called “Ng'ambo Tuitakayo”, proposed by the Department of Urban and Rural planning together with other organizations. It led up to a new building behind block 7 across the street from Dida’s, now under construction, designed by "5 innovative studio". They talked to the inhabitants in the area in order to replace existing building structures in a good way. The concept is to have shops on the first floor and apartments on the upper floor. One difficulty with these kinds of projects, Dida says is the fact that change needs to be done but the character and culture of the area should not be sacrificed or changed.


interview - halima Halima starts the interview by explain her life as very simple. She lives with her husband and two of her four children. Her children are 16, 14, 12 and 6 years old. The two oldest live in India where they study since her husband comes from India and the education is better there according to Halima. She lives in a house in Mchangani. They lived here when she first got married, then they moved to another house in an area close to the airport but due to thieves they moved back to this same house. She and her husbands runs an hotel in Mchangani, which she considers being a part of Stone Town and not Ng’ambo which we thought. Her house is a traditional Swahili house, with one formal and one informal entrance. However she has closed the courtyard due to thieves and rain and has redesigned the space into the kitchen, and 154

where the kitchen used to be there is a dining table, however they mostly have dinner on the floor in the living room. She says she don’t really need a dining room, and whoever has a dining room eats on the floor in the living room anyway. The social space of her home is the living room, but depending on how well she knows her guests they sometimes socialize in her bedroom as well. Eating is considered private and she would never do it outside, only if it’s Urudjo soup. When they have male and female guest they ask their guests if they are okay with being mixed or if they want to be separate. If they prefer to be separate, the men sit in the living room and the women on the floor by the dining table in the kitchen. She doesn’t like to stay in her home, it gives her a headache and she prefers to be outside and stay busy. In her home she likes the living room and her bedroom most.

She used to love to cook, but she doesn’t any longer, now she has a maid that helps her with that as well as shopping for food at Darajani market. They have to go to the market each day, but it’s mostly someone else then herself who’s going there. She throws her trash outside and every morning there is someone coming to pick up the trash. She says she would like to have a courtyard and that she misses the one she used to have. She would like to have one again if it wasn’t for the safety issue. Except for closing the courtyard, she has also changed her home by adding a bathroom to her and her husband’s bedroom. If all children would live at home, she would need five bedrooms – one for each child. Her children play in her entire home, wherever they want to, both inside and outside, however if they play outside she has to keep an eye on them to make sure they are safe. She loves having people over, especially children, it makes her happy but

she’d like her home to be larger in order to be able to have even more space for friends and guests. She knows her neighbours very well. She says that people stays in the street on the barazas every night when they are finished with their own things (like dinner etc) at around 4.30 pm. People are talking, playing, greeting and staying on the barazas and it’s mostly women and children since the men goes to their club where they have coffee and are having discussions. Everybody wants to be outside in order to get fresh air. If she wants to socialize elsewhere during the evening, she either goes to their house, to Forodhani park or to Cariako (playground?) with her children. She believes she has enough space to socialize. She feels very safe in her home and in her neighbourhood since they all know each other it’s always eyes on the street making sure nothing bad happens and they all look after each others children.

She tells us briefly about the “Darza” which is a place for muslim women to study their religion and socialize. She prays five times per day at home, mostly in her bedroom but if no one else is at home she can pray in the living room. Some Fridays, for “Juma” (??), she goes to the mosque. There is both a separate mosque for women but also often there’s a “women’s section” in “regular” mosques. One of the most important topics we speak about is the groups for women. She starts by telling us that women on Zanzibar likes to stay busy – they have social groups, take care of their families and goes to work. They all help out when someone is having a wedding or a funeral and it’s a very strong female community. There are women groups where everyone has the same ethnical background, but there are also groups where they have mixed background. There is about 20 women in each groups and they meet once a month at one of the women’s house. Everybody has to come to these meetings,

there are no excuses. They have yearly celebrations when they go to the beach together and have a fun day, playing net ball etc. These groups are very important to the women, they become a family and support each other very much. Some women are a part of several groups, and thereby are very busy, but Halima is just a part of one group. You can invite your friends to join your group if they don’t belong to a group or if their group aren’t functioning well. She says that it’s fine to gather in the different women’s home and that they don’t need a separate space for that. During their meetings they have food, talk and are having discussions. She has a laundry machine in her house and dries her clothes either in the street, in the former courtyard or in her hotel.


interview - mama abla Mama Abla is one of the hosts for the homestays in the course. She lives in a twostorey house just outside of Stone town in Zanzibar town. The house is divided in three parts, the upper floor is rented out, often to students and the ground floor is divided into two apartments. The first one, that has three bedrooms where Mama Abla stays with her 28-year-old daughter and the other one where her sister stays with her grandchildren. Mama Abla has lived in the same house since she was born. Her family built the house and she lived here with her whole family, but one after one her siblings moved out. The upper floor was designed to be let out and is more or less rented out all the time. During her career, Mama Abla has been working as a teacher and for some time worked 156

with the government. Today she still teaches international students to speak Swahili but only a couple of hours a week, due to health problems. Mama Abla spends a lot of time with her sister, at Mama Abla's house.
When she meet with friends or guests, it's usually in the house. That is the way it has always been, she's never been interested in going to the club or pub for example. Mama Abla spends most of her time in the sitting room, comfortable on the sofa. She usually opens up all the windows in her home in the morning and closes them at night. She hasn't made any bigger changes in the house, however she repaints her sitting room when it's Ramadan celebration, always in the same colour. She likes her home the way it is today. Sometime she will sit on her front porch, that is more semi-private but where she can talk to people that pass

by. She enjoys spontaneous visits from friends, family and neighbours and her door is always open, even if she's not feeling well. She often has guests but she only invites people for dinner if they come from out of town. Then women and men sit separate in the house and the women often gather in the bedroom, which then is rearranged for the occasion. For the food preparing and shopping, Mama Abla buys her food at Darajani market or the "big market" which is further away. She doesn't go there every day even though she cooks every day.
There's seldom leftovers from dinner, but if there are, she gives them to her neighbours or to her brother. The kitchen is inside her house, and she cooks on a gas stove. The house has functioning water most of the time and next is a private house that provides free water for the community. As for the waste, it is gathered just outside her house and picked up by a local and carried on a lorry. When asked about her connection to the local community, Mama Abla says that she knows

her neighbours very well and from talking to her we understand that she is a well-known person in the area. Every night, after Koran class, a group of children pass by her house and Mama Abla make sure that they have "done their homework" and if so, they get a piece of candy. She also let us know that there are a few young women that arrange their own Koran class, which works as a social interaction in the community. The classes are organized within the community, as they are taught in private houses. During Ramadan they do three hours of Koran class in the morning and Mama Abla, together with many of the women in the area, visits the mosque for prayer. However, there isn't a permanent place to practice the religion for women, the mosque is only open during the Ramadan month. This, explains Mama Abla, is because the religion encourages women to pray in their homes. Her daughter is also religious and prays five times per day.


workshop 1 - chwaka The workshop started with us explaining to Mochi what out workshop structure was and then he explained it in Swahili to all the participants (ca 20 people total). Then we got a group of six people to our table and started off with introducing ourselves and the participants also introducing themselves to us. The group consisted of three grown up women, one young woman and two young men. The age of the group varied – out of the three grown up women, one was older (ca 50-60 years) and two were around their 30-40’s. The young people was around 1719 years old. We immediately decided on starting with the exercise where you planned out your existing home with post it cards and save the “walking tour” for later as it was very hot outside. We had piled all of our post it cards on the table so all “bed” 158

cards were in one pile and all the “sofa” were in another. Each post it cards had simple picture and the description in Swahili. We had also placed a white piece of paper with a front door card by each place in order to help them get started. The three young people were quite quick with getting started and weren’t afraid to try it out. One of the boys started out with the “scarf” card, which surprised us all. Later we understood that he intended to use the “corridor” card, as the words are similar in Swahili: Scarf = Skafu, Corridor = Sakafu. This was one of the down sides with our post it cards, we soon understood some general difficulties with our cards: 1. We had mixed furniture, activities and groups on the cards. For example, there were cards for sofa, children and talking. Therefore, some

participants put the “guests” card where their living room is situated.

task at different times. This created a small bump in the road for us:

2. All cards were the same size, which made it hard to understand the actual layouts of their houses.

1. Language barrier – we couldn’t ask them to tell us more about their house, who lives there etc.

3. Almost every of them wanted another entrance door, we had only made one per person. Another “problem” we realized later was the limitations the white piece of paper created – almost all of them saw that sheet as the outer walls of their house. The grown up women were struggling more with creating their floor layout, maybe because the concept of a floor plan isn’t familiar to everybody. The older woman especially had a hard time so we (and the other participants) tried to help her by asking questions like “What is the first room you enter in your house?”, with some help she figured it out. Since the participants was working in different tempo they finished the

2. Lack of planning from our side – we weren’t sure of what the next step should be. We dealt with the problems by asking them to write about their house on a piece of paper and explain who lives there and who stops by, all in Swahili. The grown up women didn’t know how to write so we had to interview them together with our translator, this gave us some valuable information that we couldn’t have read from the floor plans. When everybody had finished making their home we asked them to mark their favourite room with an orange post it and the private area(s) of their home with a pink post it. We also asked them to mark which spaces are for men and which ones

are for women. These two tasks were improvised but gave some interesting answers. During their exercise of mapping their house we tried to think of the next step of our workshop. It felt like the young people that finished quickly were getting bored and one even left (because he was sick we were told…). This stressed us a little bit as we couldn’t really gather on a decision on the next step. We talked about either ask them to sketch their dream home or that we would change things around in their made up plans. We tried to think of what the possible outcomes these two exercises would have:

In the end we didn’t do any of these exercises as the time was up. We learned a lot but for next time, maybe we have to plan even more/better and have a clearer reason for why we’re doing what we’re doing.

1. Sketch your dream home, possible outcome: everybody’s sketching a fenced villa. How is that helping us in our work? 2. Change things around – will they understand? Will they react? There are so many post its on the table at the moment! 159

workshop 2 - chwaka Participants: Amina, Fatouma, 23, Amina, Sauda 34, Rabia, 32

20, 36,

• The participants looked at the apartment floor plan as a ground floor house plan. The living room is at the heart of the apartment and they placed it as the first room of the apartment. They would like a separate dining space but close to the living room. Barazas are important and must be at front of the house. They placed the kitchen and store room in the same space. Kitchen was not adjoining the courtyard. No gender centric space but another living room/meeting room available would be good. 160

They were keen on having two outside spaces, a big space for laundry and a smaller private area for socialising. 3 bedrooms or 4 bedrooms are ideal. They liked the idea of washing included within the bathroom if there is a washing machine. Evaluation: with washing incorporated in bathroom, balcony can become space for socialising and therefore 2 outside spaces not required. They liked the larger kitchen with table. Light and windows very important but privacy is needed. They would like to live in an apartment as they think it would be luxurious. It may be more breezy and it would be nice to have a good view. The neighbourhood has

everything they need, it’s a close knit community. They go to the fish market. Men go to the shop in the evenings to hang out. Woman stay at home during the day. Go out to eat a lot for Uruju. Woman and children play volleyball in the late afternoon at the empty plot. Every week the woman have a meeting in the computer lab to have general meeting. They showed the local madrasa, small breezeblock house. Looked abandoned or unfinished. A Dharasa a place for woman to educate themselves about religion – a small hut made of palm leaves. No mosque for woman. Their homes: Extremely simple. Typical Swahili. Some had no floor.

workshop - dida Her apartment today:

She doesn't want a larger balcony.

and one sunny to dry laundry.

She has made some changes in the apartment since she moved there: - Tiles on floors in living room, kitchen, bathroom and walls in kitchen - New front door – screen + front - Windows on the ventilation openings - Cornice in the living room

She washes her clothes by hand.

Privacy is very important.

She kept the lights off during our visit.

Barazas could be located on the ground level and maybe every 2nd floor.

She uses the balcony for: - Hanging laundry - Growing plants (she wants to grow tomatoes but don’t know how to combine this with the hanging of laundry) - Barbeque - Sitting here to read or think (she used to have a table and chairs but that made it easier for the rats to enter the apartment so she took it out)

She uses the underpasses a lot.

She has a grill on her balcony opening, because she has no option, thieves will come otherwise by climbing the neighbour’s grill as a "stair".

What she wants in her “workshop apartment”:

Some people decorate their homes very luxurious but she thinks that destroys the character of the building or area.

To have a front door that could be divided in a screen door and one that can be locked is an important aspect.

The cross ventilation works well if she keeps the front door and balcony door open at the same time. She has a curtain in front of the opening to the hallway. It's usually opened but if there are men in the house and a women walks around in her towel for example she puts the curtain to cover the area.

She thinks that a shared courtyard is a possibility. But there would need to be a shaded area to sit and socialize


workshop - upendo Before going to the workshop we were really hesitant about how to use our model. Even to ourselves we thought it was difficult to understand and hard to work with. We decided to bring it but also to draw up a plan in 2D on a large piece of paper and make them furniture that instead. We also made a Plan A, B and C just in order to be better prepared. Plan A: use the model as planned – have them furniture it and move the walls. Plan B: use the 2D plan – have them furniture it and have discussions. Plan C (and also step 2 of the exercise): ask them to sketch their favourite part of their home on a piece of paper. When we first got there, it didn’t seem like they had prepared a group of women and we were just told to put our things on 162

the table. One woman came up to us and was curious who we were, she was a teacher at the school and we started to introduce ourselves, thinking that this might be the only participant in our workshop so we thought to do the best out of the situation. We started explaining the exercise (Plan B: furniture the 2D plan) and she immediately started doing it. After putting out some of the cards a group of around six women came in to the room and it seemed like they were asked to join this workshop. So we introduced ourselves again, our project and what we wanted to do with this workshop. Then they introduced themselves by saying their names and the teacher that participated from the beginning explained the exercise to them. She acted as the main translator during the workshop as the English level varied.

There was six women in the beginning and later another woman joined and another one left. There was a mix between teachers, students and employees and they were both Muslim and Christian, their age was around 20-30 and one teacher who was probably around her 40’s. We structured it like this: they furnitured the 2d plan with the model as a reference to understand the floor layout better. It worked quite well. They worked together with furnituring the floor layout, most of the decisions were easy for them to make but they had many discussions and a lot of laughter. They pointed, argued, moved the cards around and the whole exercise was quite lively. Sadly, due to the language barrier, there were a lot of the discussions we missed out on since the “translator” only translated some key discussions and often the conclusion of their discussion. If we had known the language, we probably would have got even more

information and knowledge. We tried to ask some questions about how they had put the furniture and we also proposed other ways of arranging the home in order to get some questions answered. The questions and the rearrangements was quite direct and maybe thereby easier to answer, why the exercise was quite rewarding and successful. They didn’t arrange the apartment the way we did it. They immediately made the largest room a living room and the other large room into a dining room. The kitchen got a smaller space and at first they arranged three bedrooms wall to wall to later change the middle room into the “master bath”. In the end they had three WC/bathrooms – one “master bath”, one for the children and one for “the public” (guests). They thought differently about the kitchen – some of them thought it should be its own room, while other thought it should be the same as the dining room. They placed tables in the bedrooms, we thought they asked for desks but

when we asked them they meant “make up tables”. In general, they thought the house was too small, they probably think our cards was in scale which they weren’t. In the bedrooms they wanted to fit in a dresser. After arranging the space they say they need one more bedroom, because in their layout they only have two and they would like to have a third – one for the boys. There would be a family of a mother and father, two daughters and one son. They’d also like another living room, so that they could have one for female guests and one for male guests, this was a request from the Muslim women (importance??).

The washing they would like to have either in the master bathroom or the public bathroom as well as in the courtyard. They all agree on hanging their laundry in the courtyard. We propose our layout for them… The fact that we were designing an apartment was probably not clear, but we didn’t see that as very important.

They placed the fridge in the dining room and when we asked them why it was because of lack of space in the kitchen, but if there were space in the kitchen they would like one there as well as one in the dining room. They all prefer to have two entrances. One in the front and one in the back, that enters the dining room.


Profile for Matilda Leffler

Modern traditions - A new Swahili housing typology  

Master's Programme Design for Sustainable Development Reality Studio 2016 Zanzibar

Modern traditions - A new Swahili housing typology  

Master's Programme Design for Sustainable Development Reality Studio 2016 Zanzibar

Profile for mleffler