Impressionen von SECU (Fotos: Bauhaus-Universität Weimar und EiABC

SECU – The Sustainable Emerging City Unit is a housing solution and a constructional innovation which is erected entirely out of panels made of compressed straw. The building elements – walls, slabs and roof – are made of single or double layered compressed straw panels (6 or 12 cm thickness), joined by threaded rods and casein-based glue. A secondary structural system is not required. It is calculated to be earthquake resistant for two-story buildings. The individual panels are prefabricated elements. The straw is compressed under heat and achieve material properties comparable to hard wood. The significant roof overhang and green screen of climbing plants give the unit its own character and protect the straw panels from rainwater.

The floor plan layout provides a balance between open and enclosed spaces to provide the user with maximum freedom of use with 35m² on each floor and an integrated, water-resistant sanitation unit. The design is based on standardized modules which can be combined to various design permutations and guarantees a simple implementation process.

As an alternative to the standard mass housing, this represents a possible solution for fast-growing urban agglomerations and provides extra business for the farming sector near emerging cities. The prototype was built in Addis Ababa in 2012. A new model compound of five units is currently (2015) under construction in Kigali (Rwanda).

Architects and implementation: Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, institute of experimental architecture (ifex) in collaboration with EiABC, Addis Ababa University

Project head: Prof. Dr. Ing. Dirk Donath

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Year of construction: 2012

Construction time: Three months

Area: 96.00 m²

Material: Highly compressed straw panels, rubber, metal sheets, compressed wood

Budget: 8,500 USD (includes sanitation, all finished first floors)

Credits: strawtec plc Germany, SIKA waterproofing materials plc Addis Ababa Ethiopia, AEE Dawit Kebede Addis Ababa

Projekfilm auf Vimeo: SECU