African Off-grid Housing


  • Paolo Cascone University of Westminster
  • Rosa Schinao-Phan University of Westminster
  • Benson Lau University of Westminster
  • Maria Christina Georgiadou University of Westminster
  • Maddalena Laddaga University of Westminster



African off-grid housing, sustainable construction, digital manufacturing


Today, 600 million people in Africa do not have access to electricity and 900 million lack access to clean cooking facilities (International Energy Agency- 2019).

With this premise the paper will explain the research agenda of the African Off-grid Housing project on how to design and build off-grid and affordable housing solutions for the African Sub-Saharan context. The on-going project is developed at the School of Architecture and Cities of the University of Westminster with the support of the Global Challenge Research Fund. The research agenda is based on the idea of producing innovative knowledge able to bridge traditional and advanced design strategies as well as construction technologies in response to the urgent need of affordable housing in the African region. Therefore, the [AOH] research by design methodology is informed by the analytical study of the cause-effects relations between the architectural geometry, the material systems and the environmental performances of a set of pre-colonial and contemporary precedents in relation to their climatic context.

According to this analysis the most flexible and affordable vernacular genotype was selected, integrated and evolved according to a series of contemporary performative criteria through a design methodology based on a parametric approach.

Therefore, the form finding of this initial housing genotype was informed by the negotiation between the sitespecific climatic conditions, the spatial and energy needs of local users and the material systems available on-site. The performative criteria of the form finding included the question of self-sufficiency in relation to energy, water and food accessibility. The best negotiation between the different criteria, has been selected and developed as a paradigm to generate a design protocol and a construction kit open to possible variations in terms of scalability and incrementality.




How to Cite

Cascone, P., Schinao-Phan, R., Lau, B., Georgiadou, M. C., & Laddaga, M. (2022). African Off-grid Housing. Proceedings of the International Conference on Evolving Cities.