Costalopes / José Forjaz Arquitectos - Angola
Drawings, plans, elevations
Aldeia Solar is located at the Cabiri Commune, about 50km from Luanda and not far away from Lake Lalama, along the national road 110 (Luanda-Funda-Catete). More than a settlement and housing for about 500 low-income families, it was intended to ensure a self-sufficient farming community in 100 available hectares, while respecting the fertile landscape of lemon grass punctuated by multiple baobabs, sacred trees in Africa. The ridge line, optimizing orography and the extension of the land, generates an infrastructural central spine, distributor and equipped, that provides public spaces for the community – school, community centre, job centre, health centre, market – between the water tower in the northeast limit, to the highest allotment, and the playing fields, highlighted, in the northwest limit. Then, this new spine-road adds twelve neighbourhood units, low rise, with houses attached to small farms (each part amounts to approximately 210m² for agricultural and livestock activities) and common yards – created to safeguard the baobab trees – that deliver distinct identities. Fed by Lake Lalama, the water tower directs the water by gravity to each reservoir associated with each housing unit, providing water supply and irrigation. Energetically autonomous (solar energy), the houses guarantee 3 to 5 rooms, with kitchen countertop and covered exterior toilet facilities, with possible flexibility. For circumstantial reasons, it was not possible to use earth blocks for self-construction. Still, at very controlled costs, a built environment fit for use and location was obtained. Designed in partnership with the Mozambican architect José Forjaz, the Aldeia Solar turned to be beyond the best expectations, integrated into the landscape, suitable for the purpose, anchoring a new rural community and delivering a better life to many people.