Share via FacebookShare via TwitterShare via LinkedInShare via Pinterest
introduction Edit

As a designer it is often very easy to impose an idea of what techniques, forms and spaces should be built without really involving the users in the design process. The Masoro Village Project by GA|Collaborative is an example of a different approach that led to a completely collaborative design. In September 2013 the first prototype was finished. The project gave the villagers of Masoro not only a completely new skillset, they even started their own cooperative that supports new construction plans for their community.

The US-based non-profit organization GA|Collaborative aims to bring quality design and construction to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities. For the Masoro Village project they partnered with Dushygikirane, a women’s association founded and operated by women who survived the Rwandan genocide. The genocide and the following villagization (replacement of civilians to concentrated villages) left many people without a home and without the means to built a new one. In this project GA|C set out to find a cost-effective and sustainable building practice for the community and the country. To understand the specific culture and needs of Masoro, the people of GA|C have stayed in Masoro for five years, researching and developing possible design solutions with the villagers, transferring new skills and techniques.

Show more
Show less

image gallery Edit

technical drawings Edit

cultural and social context Edit

During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, around 800,000 people were killed. Set of by the assassination of president Juvenal Habyarimana thousands of Hutus went into the streets and started a killing spree that went on for 100 days. Most of the violence was directed at the Tutsis, an ethnic minority that had been made the scapegoat for the many economic and social problems in Rwanda. After the genocide, Rwanda counted an enormous increase of HIV infections due to war rape, including babies born of rape to newly-infected mothers.

Show more
Show less

materials and building techniques Edit

The main construction feature used in the construction of the EB House 01 is the EarthBag system. These woven polypropylene bags were originally developed as a military bunker construction technique but were adapted for civil purposes by Johnny Anderton of Eternally Solar, a South African agency. The bags are filled with earth from the location and can be used to form the bearing walls of the building. Being a waste product of oil production, polypropylene is a very affordable material that also helps in diminishing the carbon emission of the country. Protected from the sun polypropylene is nearly indestructible and will last a very long time.

Show more
Show less

earth and climate Add


Project details
Project name: Masoro Village Project
Description: A pilot housing project aims to empower the local communities
Category: housing
Design: GA|C Collaborative, design team: Yutaka Sho, James Setzler, Michael Beaman, Zaneta Hong; Student partners from University of Rwanda: Theophile Uwayezu, Doreen Ingabire, Rene Isabane, Patrice Ndababonye
Consultants: Structural Consultant: Dr. Johnny Anderton, Eternally Solar, South Africa; Construction Supervision: GA Collaborative with Rwandan architecture students, Riaan Hough, EarthKaya, South Africa; Solar Lamps: Great Lakes Energy, Rwanda; Compacted Earth Floor:
Building status: under construction
Construction period: EB House 01: June 2013 – November 2013
Location: Masoro, Rwanda
Coordinates: 1°56'48.1'' S, 30°9'5.3'' E
Tags: crowdfunding, community practice, empowerment, student participation
Project ID: 399
Published: 25 September 2013
Last updated: 25 February 2014
(images have individual licenses)
CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • homeproject1
    Pioneering example of a bottom-up, community-le…
    Design: Hein de Haan/ CASA Architecten
    Location: Amsterdam, IJburg, Netherlands
  • homeproject2
    Rural Bayview Village
    Affordable housing, initiated by the community.
    Design: Maurice Cox
    Location: Bayview, U.S.A.
  • homeproject3
    Incremental collective housing
    A community-driven, low cost housing upgrading.
    Design: Communit Architects Network - Cambodi…
    Location: Neak Loeang, Cambodia