Designers of Fumba town in Zanzibar, OMT Architects has highlighted availability of timber in the African context and opportunities of using this material in a more sustainable way to tackle the challenges resulting from demographic development in Africa.
OMT Architects’ Founding Partner, Mr Leander Moons said at a conference in the US recently that experience gained from their projects in Zanzibar that timber could be used to create equitable and more sustainable housing solutions.
“The experience gained from the previous projects has resulted in the further development of more complex and larger timber buildings, which would not have been possible without the experience gained from earlier projects, both in planning and production and assembly,” he said.
The projects, which include the Moyoni and Vizazi townhouses, are exemplary of OMT’s goal to promote the use of timber within the affordable market.
He said the CheiChei Living project, a multi-family four-storey apartment building complex, is the next step in OMT’s development followed by the Burj Zanzibar as a hybrid-timber tower.
From a design and sustainability perspective, mass timber offers numerous benefits for high-rise construction.
Mass timber is one of the more sustainable building materials available and through careful planning its use can be optimised.
The combination of traditional and engineered timber systems is the most effective way forward to enable a more sustainable construction industry.
He said the OMT Architects recognises that the demand for timber as construction material needs to grow before challenges in the local timber value chain can be overcome.
“The OMT’s projects in Africa aim to create more awareness of the potential for mass timber in construction and to support local value chains to empower local communities and support local wealth creation while limiting transportation and importing impacts,” he said.
Mr Moons’ message to other architects and builders who may be considering mass timber as a construction material is clear that all have a responsibility to transform the construction industry into a more sustainable sector.
Building new houses more sustainably, with the help of timber and mass timber can contribute to the development of a more sustainable building industry, use locally available materials and craftsmanship, and empower people in Africa and beyond.
OMT Architects’ innovative approach to mass timber construction in Africa is creating a sustainable legacy that promotes a new era of construction.