In-situ resource utilization on Sahara desert

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12 października 2018


TEAM: Monika Lipińska, Ludvig Hofsten, Karolina Pajnowska

The Eternal Oasis, located in the Moroccan part of Sahara, aims at bringing together locals and tourists to celebrate the nomadic lifestyle. It is a culture hub for various activities, such as trade, storytelling and crafts.

Contrary to many nomadic structures, it is permanent and long-lasting, an omnipresent beacon in the vast emptiness, always welcoming tired travellers. We wanted it to "float" on the sand, change with the moving dunes and mirror the shape of the desert.

To introduce such changeability, we developed a special building block, which solves the problems of construction on sand - cracking, tilting and collapsing. The element is based on the principle of topological interlock, which makes every block cling to its neighbours by means of pure geometry. It allows for movements, adjustments and settling in of the structure.

Making multiple prototypes of the building blocks enabled us to choose the best type of clay. We constructed a special sandbox to conduct experiments concerning stability of the aggregated prototypes. We then chose aggregations with the best strength performance and adaptability.

In order to further stabilise the project we chose the form of intersecting, circular walls with parabolic outline, as these proved to be the most balanced in our experiments on the sand. Our goal was to achieve a collection of different atmospheres, capable of hosting a variety of functions.

Risks of building on sand and our proposal of increasing stability through the form of the building.

The building reacts to the shifting and moving sand dunes by adapting its shape thanks to the topologically interlocking bricks.

Local, low-tech brick production is imperative for the project. Due to the complex geometry, the form is 3d-printed in Sweden and then shipped to Morocco, where it is easily filled with clay by local manufacturers.

The main hall

Tea pavillion

Outdoor trade

Storytelling pavilion entrance

Arts and crafts gallery