Apartment Building in Patte d'Oie
Starter Homes for Young Professionals

Office  Tornavida Design Type  New construction Role  Schematic design Budget  €1 million Size  880 m² Location  Dakar, Sénégal Year  2018‑2019

This 7-unit mixed-use apartment building on a corner site replaces a single-family home in a developing neighborhood of Dakar. The double-skin design with deeply recessed interiors engages the city's hot semi-arid climate. A solar chimney and wind-induced pressure differences at vent stack openings continuously draw air through a double-skin façade enveloping the building. This buffer of circulating air along with a radiant barrier in the outer layer of the wall keep the rammed earth inner leaves of the walls at a constant temperature. At night, the air drawn into the cavity is redirected, dehumidified, and flushed through the interior spaces of the building.
The terraces and prefabricated concrete brise-soleil along the front façade are thermally isolated from the structure of the building itself to prevent direct solar gain. The adjacent alleyway is only 2½ meters wide, so windows along the longer façade open onto a perforated light shaft as well as onto terraces that both preserve the privacy of the residents and offer opportunities for interaction with neighbors.
Materials and details are economical. There is no articulation of the building beyond the exposed concrete structure which comprises the composition of the front façade and also frames the interiors of the apartments. The inner leaves of the exterior walls, which fill in the concrete frame, are of red, exposed rammed earth, which is a traditional building technology in Sénégal. The kitchen as well as other laminate casework in the apartments are integrated into these frames and serve to partition the spaces. Additional interior walls are of compressed earth block with lime plaster, and the floors and ceiling are exposed, polished concrete.

There is a mix of one and two bedroom units (65 and 105m², respectively, including the terraces). In addition to a caretaker's flat, commercial space on the ground floor can accommodate one or two small neighborhood enterprises.
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