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(Un)Earthing Resilience in Nouakchott

Part 2 Project 2021
Elizabeth Ryall
Oxford Brookes University Oxford | UK
‘(Un)Earthing Resilience in Nouakchott’ explores the potential of alternative construction in urban fringe communities as a model for building resilience in physical, social, political, and economic dimensions.

Located on the Atlantic coast of the Sahara Desert is the sprawling capital city of Nouakchott, Mauritania. My phased proposal for a vocational training and community centre in the rapidly developing outskirts of the city, challenges the typical use of concrete blockwork by demonstrating a spectrum of earthen materials and alternative construction activities. The practical workshops on-site form part of the program to train apprentices, support start-up businesses and diversify the local industry that is currently reliant on expensive, imported cement.

Earthen walls and elements of landscaping in the design are important opportunities to experiment and develop correct techniques for earthen construction in Nouakchott, such as the potential stabilisation of rammed earth using locally sourced gypsum instead of cement.

Prototypes and opportunities for research in the proposal puts resilience and adaptation to the environment into practice; the materials, techniques, and scale of each phase of construction is reflective of developing skills and supply chains over time.

Elizabeth Ryall

Mellisa Kinnear
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