In Zambia, Open plan Kitchen and Lounge rooms is what first comes to most minds when anyone alludes to “up-to-the-minute” house design. Notwithstanding this, that cannot be further from the truth. It goes a few yards beyond that because avant-gardism in itself – in design – to me also means the use of novel and cost effective materials and techniques in construction.


©Aaron Kachali, LafargeHolcim

Living in a well-informed age like we do, some of these materials come with guided techniques for application and free for anyone with the means and access to such establishments. This information is also free to anyone with access to the Worldwide Web through websites run by builders’ retail shops themselves.


The commended materials in most of these builders’ retail shops around the globe today are the eco-friendly sort, and these are what have come to be regarded as novel materials – only novel in the sense that they are now produced in a greener fashion at this turn in evolution than before and are easily disposed of without running the risk of contaminating the environment in which they are used.


©Aaron Kachali, LafargeHolcim

An up-to-the-minute house currently has a flat roof (with a fall of > 10 degrees) and with parapet walls to tuck away the supposedly ugly side of the roof. Building of such homes is more common now than it ever was before, and novel materials and techniques are what have made this possible. Nonetheless, this requires an experienced builder to put up as know-how on this covering provokes the installer to think about insulation mechanics e.g. concrete flat roofs require expertise on the amount of bitumen to use for optimum results as well as when and where to apply it. As drainage is, maintenance here is likewise critical. Consequently, downpipes ought to be carefully positioned here than on any other building system, lest it comes out across as an afterthought. To avoid this, concrete gutters and concrete downpipes will often than not drain better.


©Aaron Kachali, LafargeHolcim

Since parapet walls alone leave the structure that they are used on unadorned, a lot has to be done to the facades so as to give them character. One such way is cladding of stone chips or of tiles. Moreover, brick to craft a fair face can be used in the effort to achieve a desirable outcome. And another means is to incorporate beams resting on columns above an exposed carport or above a patio decked with creepers to realize a pergola. Alternatively, thickened plaster in an assortment of hues to one’s preference can also be used as a cosmetic around select windows. The wallcrete product line for masonry works by Lafarge is perfect for use. A 50 KG bag will take you back by only K38 in renowned builders’ retail shops like Handyman’s Paradise, Rekay’s, Micmar and National Building Supplies, anywhere within Lusaka, Ndola or Kitwe. Ultimately, variety is achieved, and character is given to otherwise, disregarded openings like bathroom and closet windows.


©Aaron Kachali, LafargeHolcim

Evidently, the building technique of plumbing in Zambia, like drainage also leaves much room for improvement. A false wall is one way plumbing networks can be keep out of sight. These are walls that can be used to buffer the eyesore left by these pipes, and should be built with reasonable working space left to allow maintenance works on the pipes eventually. They can be made of brick or of metal. Stacked timber can also be used here but in a louvered fashion for aesthetic purposes. Another means is the use of ducts – especially for multistory buildings – down which pipes can run and thus leaving a clutter and stain free façade.


©Aaron Kachali


©Aaron Kachali

With the world changing as much as it is, and perpetually so, more materials and techniques are similarly being thought of to suit such a world, and eco-friendliness is at the core.


©Aaron Kachali


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