Rwinkwavu Rwanda is slowly coming to be known as the place of good architecture. More so with the influx of architecture firms like Mass Design, Sharon Davis Designs and other reserach based organizations experimenting with low cost sustainable architecture that is community based and pivotal to the societal issues of the area. The Share houses are no different, dotting the eccentric red brick that Sharon Davis calls the material of the moment. Perhaps the quintessential material of all time, the brick traetment in the share houses brings back that nolstalgic feeling of ode to sustainable living, the good old feel for community unity and social levelling, atleast for a moment if to be politically correct.
From the Architect
Located on a hillside in rural Rwinkwavu, Rwanda, Share Houses provides 6,900 square feet of temporary housing for medical professionals from Partners In Health and Ministry of Health. Employees of the nonprofit organization and government agency live in Share Houses for as long as one year, as they perform contract work at Rwinkwavu Hospital or attend the hospital’s adjacent training facility. The facility is divided into a pair of single-story bar volumes. In each, eight bedrooms are arranged around a multi-tiered common space to promote community among various healthcare staff.
The design elevates the dormitory experience for individual residents through additional means. Bedrooms open to private exterior spaces that boast western views to the Vallée Kibaya. Balconies and other exterior circulation spaces are shaded for comfort in the hot, dry climate. And woven eucalyptus screens provide privacy, while also referencing thatching materials of traditional Rwandan construction.
Share Houses’ reliance on regional building materials, such as eucalyptus collected from the area, represents a parallel design response to the clients’ tight budget. Key sources include bricks handmade by a nearby women’s cooperative, locally quarried stone, and the clay tiles that form the project’s ventilated roof cavity. Rwinkwavu residents performed approximately 90 percent of labor, and women represented at least one-third of hires throughout construction. Sharon Davis Design conceived and executed the project in partnership with Rwanda Village Enterprise.
Located on a one-hectare site in the Kayonza district in eastern Rwanda, the Women’s Opportunity Center is energizing one small community’s subsistence-agriculture economy through female empowerment. Traveling to the center’s daytime classes and events on foot, residents—many of them survivors...