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"Pata4Two" affordable housing
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Pata4Two (‘Pata’ means ‘little hut’ in Twi, one of Ghana’s main languages). It is designed as a house for two people, based on a single floor 3-bay grid. ‘Pata4Two’ only occupies 10% of the plot, leaving space for another building, either the same size, or one grid longer, or even with the same footprint and a second floor, if the family grows bigger. The first building could then be used as an office, or studio, or rented out to another young couple, who desire a stylish and affordable home. The first model has an area of 55 m2, consisting of one bedroom, designed as a traditional enclosed room, whilst the other is designed as a flexible space to be opened up for other uses or more living space, as the occupants prefer. There is a ‘bonus’ space in the open roof structure, which can be used as storage/study/gym, or simply to relax. It is accessible via a multi-functional piece of furniture that acts as both staircase and storage. This bonus space is one of the key design features to let the small area appear much bigger and airy; to improve thermal comfort and enhance living experience. Thermal comfort is further enhanced by the orientation of the house along a non-traditional north-south axis with all the main window openings protected from the low standing east/west sun, allowing for optimum natural ventilation and lighting throughout the year. Verandas are utilized on the north and south sides to provide additional sun shading as well as private outdoors areas for the residents. The main entrance opening on the west wall is protected by an entrance pod that serves as both sun shading and an opportunity for outdoor/ garden storage. The walls facing the east-west direction are deep, multi-functional furniture elements for storage, laundry, living and kitchen use. The window bands are high and recessed for shading. These walls made out of “rammed earth” also act as protection against thermal heat gain, and regulate the humidity in the inside of the building. Lightweight traditional construction methods have also been adopted to aid in the control of thermal gain. These materials include wooden roof shingles with coconut fiber insulation and timber frame walls with various cladding's including shingles or timber external covering. More of such housing innovations could help to push government towards building code regulations so that sustainability is not an option but a requirement. Once it becomes a statutory requirement, industry will respond by using technology to develop, standardize and stretch the use of local materials for contemporary use. Even without the regulatory framework in place we are working towards a future where a sophisticated home will not necessarily be an expensive one; where the ordinary Ghanaian can afford a shelter that is not just a roof over the head but a sanctuary and a haven, which speaks to, and represents, the Ghanaian soul.
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