How did an engineer design buildings that do not require air conditioning at 40 degrees Celsius? How did an engineer design buildings that do not require air conditioning at 40 degrees Celsius?

How did an engineer design buildings that do not require air conditioning at 40 degrees Celsius?

How did an engineer design buildings that do not require air conditioning at 40 degrees Celsius?

Mud houses are associated in our imagination with poverty and antiquity, but his story in Burkina Faso has another impact. The mud house was built as a gift given by the architect, “Dibidou Francy Kyre”, to the small village of Gando, his birthplace, in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

A mud house to protect children
Kerry lived in his poor village, and studied in crowded, dark, and stifling classrooms, in a country where the weather temperature rises in the summer, accompanied by heavy humidity, which makes concentrating on the teacher’s explanation a miracle.

Kerry showed diligence and intelligence. He pushed his neighbors to provide financial support to complete his education, until he obtained a scholarship from the Technical University in Germany, and there he had an idea that could save thousands of dollars and save thousands of lives in his country.

Kerry returned to Gando with a plan to build a school out of mud, without the cement his village was accustomed to, and the glass he had seen in Berlin buildings.

Kerry's dreams did not stop at the advantages of using local materials available at a cheap price. Rather, his goals went beyond the construction barrier, and he hoped to provide a place that provides a cool atmosphere for children when the temperature exceeds 40 degrees Celsius.

The men and women of the village came together to build the school. They mixed water with soil, replaced the concrete beams with red ebony stone, and built very strong walls.

The ingenuity of the design was embodied in very high walls, topped with a thin roof, made of metal slats, to protect from rain and sunlight, with openings separating the roof from the walls, through which hot air exits, and is replaced by cold air that enters through the doors.

The Guardian newspaper reported the experience of the children in the Gando village school, and the reactions of the families, who followed the “Kerry” model of mixing contemporary designs with local materials, and decided to build a complex of schools and orphanages with clay and red stone, amid the joy of the children who were protected by the schools on the hottest days. To the point where they no longer want to return to their homes.

Kerry's ideas did not stop at the borders of his village, but are currently moving across Burkina Faso, to Benin, and Kenya, in order to provide safe buildings for children in the summer, play spaces, and clean energy, thanks to the use of solar panels in school designs.

More than just a building
Kerry is a recipient of the World Economic Forum's 2024 Crystal Prize for Social Change, and was the first Black and African person to win the prestigious 2024 Pritzker Prize for Architecture.

In his interview with the American “Time” magazine, on the occasion of honoring him as one of the 100 most important people in 2023, Kerry stressed his insistence on reducing energy consumption in his projects, in addition to the least amount of harmful effects on his environment. Therefore, he did not resort to using any materials that require Trucking.

These concessions were not a luxury, in a country that the African Development Bank ranked 184 out of 191 in the Human Development Index, for the year 2021, and electricity only reaches 22.5% of its population, and news spread that its children are stunted as a result of high temperatures.

The importance of Kerry's ideas lies in the dangers that Burkina Faso's children face every summer. Researchers from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environment Research at London College observed, in their study of the impact of hot weather on Burkina Faso's children, a steady rise in deaths among children, by 0.09%. They expected the percentage to rise to 8.6% by 2050, and to 10.8% by 2070, if the world comes together to stop carbon emissions, while - in light of the near-catastrophic warming scenario we are living in - it is expected that the child mortality rate will increase by 11.6% and 14.6% by 2050. 2070 respectively.

The researchers pointed out that the wealth of the family, their ability to obtain electricity, and their use of air conditioners and fans accordingly, was an important factor in reducing the negative effects of high temperatures during the summer months in Burkina Faso. In a country whose temperature exceeds 35 degrees Celsius in the winter, and whose summer exceeds Arbaeen checkpoint, with humidity reaching 80%, air conditioning and fan are a matter of life or death.

Lives on the brink of a hole
The improvements made by the United Nations to protect the lives of Burkina Faso children over the past decade are about to be lost due to climate change. In 2022, researchers at Cornell University conducted health surveys for more than 32,000 children between the ages of 3 months and 3 years. From Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Togo, between 1993 and 2014, the results showed that 14% of children suffered from malnutrition, and 31% of them had a decline in growth.

Over the course of 11 years, researchers discovered a link between high weather temperatures and growth problems in children. They indicated that a child is stunted at a rate of 5.9% for every 100 hours of monthly exposure to temperatures higher than 35 degrees Celsius, equivalent to 12 days in the summer. While he suffers from malnutrition leading to wasting disease, if he is exposed to temperatures higher than 30 degrees Celsius, for 14 non-consecutive days, within 90 days.

The researchers also warned in their report of the scenario of an increase in the average global temperature by only two degrees, for fear of an increase in the prevalence of stunting by 7.4% among everyone exposed to that heat in early childhood, so that an entire generation would be forced to live with a health crisis whose effects will not be erased by time, other than the increased likelihood of them being exposed. The risk of death resulting from heat stress is approximately 15 times greater, according to a study published by the British Meteorological Office in 2021.

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