Tag: Affordable Housing

Outdoor Living: Day Rooms.

Day rooms can be used in one or two of many and different ways. A few of these options are as a library, a greenhouse, a sitting room or a laundry room.

Illustrated here is a sitting space which acts as an extension of the lounge with cushioned outdoor reed chairs and a timber coffee table.

The Day room almost always has similar features anywhere on the planet; clear roofs, skylights, large windows, shelves, plants, among many others.

The windows and the clear roofing sheets are what bring in light to this little space that would almost always be mistakenly left a room without natural light.

The washing machine sits next to a corner sink on one side and on another rests a stand just enough to accommodate a laundry basket. A laundry line hangs on exposed roof trusses from one end of the room to the other, and this completes the space as a one-part laundry room.

For storage of detergents and other cleaning chemicals, flying shelves hang against a wall above a washing machine and a refrigerator, while potted plants help introduce nature and the outdoor to the room.

The beauty of this little space is that, apart from laundry, the owner has other options, options to either read a book and enjoy a glass of wine, or to entertain.


•A Good Time To Finish Up Old Tasks•

We are fresh from the holidays, maybe not literally for everyone depending on how it was spent. While some are highly rejuvenated – these being those who actually managed to travel out – others stayed in for reasons best left to everyone’s guess.

Due to some changes in my plans to travel out of the city, I stayed behind, and this afforded me a perfect time to complete old tasks; like wrapping up longstanding design projects.

For those who travelled out, I imagine you went to a place similar to what I stayed behind to work on. This is a Lodge in none other than the scenic city of Livingstone which is home to the mighty and spectacular Victoria Falls (one of the world’s natural wonders). Sprawling across these grounds are two types of rooms; a Single Suite and a Family Suite.

The Singles Suites dominate the premises in footprint and come in two blocks of 8 apartments apiece with just enough real estate for a bed and a bath. The Family Suite on the other hand comes in one block of just 4 apartments but with ample real estate for a spacious bedroom with a lockable door, a Kitchen and a bath.

In addition, the Supporting facilities are a Bar and a Gymnasium both for recreation and both sit under one roof. While a Restaurant and a Workers’s Station are placed separately and in independent structures.

For the ultimate adventure of taking a dip, a central Swimming Pool was introduced. Central, because that was the only logical way to have all facilities in almost equal proximity. And for privacy, a picket fence in a natural brown finish was placed around.

The layout is set up in such a way that a trip to here recharges the batteries of any holiday seeker who fancies a trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

💧Lusaka’s Sanitation Crisis💧

Fact: The City of Lusaka sits on a Limestone bedrock which is a rock form of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3). This means most of its water table is covered by the rock and at significant depths which becomes tricky to access.

Fact: Lusaka City is in a Sanitation Crisis. Statistics indicate 90% of residents rely on pit latrines and only 10% use sewers & septic tanks.

Repercussions: Because of all this, both new home owners and old home owners have to search high and low for not only water, but safe water for human consumption. This can of course be a costly enterprise to undertake but the long term effects are quite rewarding. Because of this rock beneath, it’s not often that sinking boreholes is successful, not even when dug at an eyebrow-raising depth of 150+ meters.

Therefore, alternative options now have to be sought if we are to be proactive. One such option is a Domestic Water Harvesting & Purification Plant for water and a common Cesspool for sewage. The former, however, is only effective for areas endowed with natural water resources like rivers and streams, unless intended only for use in the Rainy Season then by all means.

For this to work, all you’ll need is a Water Pump, a Sand Tank, Water Filters, Chlorine Tank and Pipes to complete the network.

Thence, what you do first is to identify a resource with running water.

Securing a path for pipes would save best than when left unattended since tampering in the way of wear and tear, and vandalism might be a commonplace.

The first in the network is a suction pipe that draws water from the resource with the help of a fuel run pump, through a chlorine tank and into a reservoir tank at Ground level. At the press of a switch, this water is sent through a series of pipes and through a sand tank which traps all manner of particles from the chlorinated water.

From there, water goes through a further network of pipes during the filtration process and upwards towards an elevated tank before gravity can finally send it down at the turn of a tap in the house for consumption.

Lastly, it’d be wise to take a sample of this water to a Laboratory at either the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS, hereafter) or the University of Zambia (UNZA, hereafter) just to be sure of purity.

Wait, That Doesn’t Belong There! 🚫

Just because a parcel of land is small doesn’t mean one can’t develop it as practically and as functionally as ultimately possible, and within set regulations of course.

So to speak, land in “residentials” surrounding the Central Business District (CBD, hereafter) has all if not most, depleted today. 

Take 15m X 7m parcels for example; these are some of the generous areas one is likely to stumble upon, but only if in luck since most will be just enough to carry a green space.

Advantages that come with such parcels is that they’re all serviced lots; connected to the national Power Grid and to a town’s Sewer System. Additionally, these are often in neighborhoods that lie within close proximity to such few amenities as schools, health centers and police stations, and are therefore safe and secure.

In conclusion, a common disadvantage that stands out is the exorbitant cost attached to a piece of land of this sort, and the least not being the lack therein of real estate for future expansion and gardening. 


About a week in and it appears to be that 2016 has drifted by just as steadily as we have seen 2017 rowing in, and with it the world over, now is the time to mend broken dreams for some while for others, just the opportunity to build atop of dreams achieved in the previous year either professionally or personally.

Possible common goals would be to soar at a career, to further an education or to leap into the scary and lonely world of the unknown; the world of independence.

Front View

Why not?
Living in a not-so-favorable economy? Maybe!!!
Exorbitant return interest rates on loans from financial institutions? Maybe!!!
Coming from a medium income family and riddled with Black tax? Maybe!!!
…and so on and so forth.

Perspective View

Inasmuch as both options of renting and self build require spending of money, with one of them requiring a lot more of it than the other, the most obvious one would be renting.But, what if you rebelled against what’s most obvious, Hmm?

Perspective View

And, what if you fought the odds and came into some finances by way of disciplined saving? With all these fixed account saving options being offered by most banks which would rather receive money than give it out, now is a good time as any. Money can be saved for as long as you wish and inaccessible to you until such a time as stipulated in the terms and conditions of maintaining the said account, while accruing interest of an agreed percentage all at the same time. I’d advise you to get in touch with your bank for more information.


I realize that it is easier said than done, and maybe too much to ask for, but what if you changed your script in 2017 and building your own little humble abode were possible? How would that space look like?

Floor Plan

Well, mine would look something of this sort. Something as simple, yet as elegant as this…


…a one bedroom space with a closet and serviced by an open-planned Kitchen-Lounge with a pantry and a water closet next to a bath and a hand wash basin.

Kitchen and Pantry

This is as I understand it is what’s called a Bedsitter!

Container House In The Tropics


In architecture, perhaps one of the most profound milestones achieved during the 20th century was the radical rethinking to Humanitarian Architecture. And as seen by the provision of Affordable Housing which the century brought about as driven by a worldwide population explosion and the devastation of the past two world wars.

But what does this mean for Zambia? and most importantly the noble country’s Architecture?

Before the above question can be justified with an answer, it’s best to remind ourselves of the basic fact about Zambia being located in a region that experiences the tropical climate. And anyone with a decent memory will tell you from their Geography class that this is because the country lies along, if not, just above the Tropic of Capricorn and away from the equator. The Climate here ranges from mild hot to hot daytime and nighttime temperatures.


Without trailing too far from the question at hand, my answer to the Zambian shortage in supply of decent housing is Container Housing.
Because we live in a region such as we do, I would however care to remind you to take caution before treading along this route.
The containers that I have come across come 20 foot in length for the smaller option and 40 foot in length for the larger one, and are made of metal (which alone, as a characteristic, is a good conductor of heat).


Therefore, if one is going to make a house out of metal, then a lot of modifications need to be sought.
One sure way to achieve this is thorough insulation; straw bales tucked behind painted timber paneling to occupant’s preference would work quite well whilst leaving the house feeling and looking light all at the same time.
Ventilation, is another such way to keep the heat of the Tropics out. Thus generous openings are prudent, and therefore up to the task; Large doors opening onto a patio help add a modern touch to any dwelling besides their cooling effect, and equally large windows help do the same but even more when used with the high level window options.
Having plants (especially trees) near windows to act as shading devices also functions just as well in keeping the interiors cool during those hot summer days.


And since the sun crosses from East to West, it is always wise during orientation at the design stage, to place more openings along the North-South Axis, away from direct sun rays.


Any building characterized by the foregoing rules of thumb is well on its way to cool summer days and nights for its occupants.


In conclusion, I’ll borrow (without any intention of giving them back) the words of the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate Alejandro Aravena, who has “chosen” to go the Humanitarian Architecture route with his Elemental firm that takes some time to focus on providing affordable housing in his home country of Chile:

“Socially minded architecture is a choice not a responsibility.”

But maybe it should be more of a responsibility than a choice. Would you not agree?