Kenya: Ecovillage Construction Plans
OTEPIC Peace Ecovillage: Construction Using Natural Materials
The OTEPIC Peace Ecovillage is using interlocking eco-bricks to create a honeycomb formation for a new conference hall, community house, and birthing center.
In OTEPIC, we have three linked structures for 1) community housing, 2) a conference room, and 3) an alternative place for women to give birth. To achieve this we started building three pentagonal houses with a diameter of 6 meters each. They are assembled in a honeycomb formation (as you can see from the photo).
Right now we are altering the plans for the conference center, working out a new plan that will be much more detailed, with the goal of completing an updated draft soon.
Leveraging our experience gained from building smaller structures, we will do our best to adapt them with the materials and construction techniques available in our community. This second structure will be completed before we make final decisions on how to move forward with the conference facilities.
The overall process of designing community structures has been fruitful to helping us better understand community site development.
Photos by Philip Munyasia, founder, OTEPIC Peace Ecovillage
When it comes to construction projects, we study the best practices of other communities, thinking about how best to apply those lessons with the available materials and tools at hand. We learn as we work.
For the current construction project we are working on, we are practicing using interlocking bricks. First, the foundation was excavated and natural stones were used to ground the structure firmly. So far, we are making good progress with building: already two sections of the pentagon (see photo) have reached the lintel stage. For the third one, the walls are in progress.
We make the interlocking bricks on-site, finding the correct ratio between cement and soil so that the bricks are strong and durable. For roofing, we are currently comparing the best possible options by learning from different sites, and will develop a solution that suits smaller structures and also works for the main conference building.
Tribute to Steve Mangan (may he rest in peace)
Steve Mangan was for many years a fundraiser for the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and a true advocate for ecovillages across Africa. His passion supported and encouraged social innovation and youth entrepreneurship in ecovillages around the world, visiting and linking ecovillages across Africa.
We at OTEPIC are deeply grateful to Steve for his vision and guidance in establishing our ecovillage. Although he has passed to a new world, Steve still lives with us, in our hearts and in the ecovillage that he helped make a reality.