Celeste Asfour
Architectural Design and Participation
The awareness of hygiene is important all over the world – especially since the Covid-19 pandemic changed life on the planet. The lack of knowledge about hygiene still causes many problems in the global south. Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to the transmission of diseases. Absent, inadequate, or inappropriately managed water and sanitation services expose individuals to preventable health risks. The Chair of Architectural Design and Participation has been contacted by Aktion Pit - Togohilfe e.V.; an association active in the health sector, school education, child aid and village development in Togo since 1980. This NGO is working closely with 10 villages and has a strong network, including doctors, medical assistants and volunteers. The task was to design a Hygiene Point for five of these villages.
The essence of hygiene is access to a reliable source of water. Therefore the Bilo-Wa hygiene point evolves around the collection and filtration of harvested water. The open structure is organized in layered circles, which each have a different focus. It opens itself to the environment, creates a communicative space and centralizes in the water collection point. What is special about Djegbakondji is the climatic conditions with fluctuating double rain seasons and steady high relative humidity. This leads us to the combination of both aspects by creating a double structure which takes advantage of both conditions. Our design orientates itself at the Biloba orchid, a Togolese flower and the central role of water. We used this biomimicry for the outward orientation, centric reference of the core, modular segmentation within the space and the circular interconnection. The center point, which is the hygiene point, serves as a central attraction. This approach results in the morphological biomimicry. The design proposal consists of multiple layers elevated on a platform. An elevated center integrates the bamboo tower foundation on which the water tower, consisting of three segments, is placed. Steel pillars are fixed into the platform, where steel beams are welded onto and connected in circular arrangement. Rebar space frames are welded to these steel elements and serve as a base for the roof sub-construction out of bamboo branches. The choice of materiality is based on locally available materials, discovered in our research and dialogues with local architects. A circular floor plan shows the organisation of steel pillars around the central collection point. Our design offers space for collecting water, while also functioning as a community space, without defining a specific program. Constant visual connection within the spacial threshold is ensured through the open structure, which consists of two individual structures. These are fixed to each other and function as a dual harvesting system. We aimed at connecting natural materials, such as a thatched roof, together with the industrial materials of the main construction. Polytanks are arranged in different heights to ensure a gravitational water flow and eased access to fetch water, while also functioning as a seating space. The polytanks are then connected and encircled by a bamboo tower base, which is connected to the roof and on which the tower is placed. The mesh collects the humidity droplets in the main polytank, as does the slanting roof. The primary tank in the middle serves as a collector, which leads the water into smaller tanks, where it is then filtered and accessible for the inhabitants.
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