Rural Waterscapes


Yousra Elshafeei (M.Sc)

Jong In Choi (M.Arch)

Felipe Oeyen (M.Arch with Distinction)

Devaiah Ponnimada Ashok (M.Arch)

2019 – 2020


The thesis investigates the potential for the generation and development of a resilient rural community capable of harvesting and managing rain and atmospheric water in the context of an arid/semi-arid environment located in the Somali region of Ethiopia, Eastern Africa. The current situation in the region was studied, quantifying water requirements and potential water collection, local materials available, vernacular construction techniques and traditional housing typologies.

The research focuses on the design and fabrication strategy for a settlement that could permanently house and ensure the necessary water and productive land for the development of refugees, IDPs and rural settlers whilst also temporarily housing pastoral groups during the dry season. Environmental and site conditions, as well as indigenous agricultural strategies were considered for the design of a settlement network and distribution that can be adapted to the existing terrain hydrology.

Material, fabrication and living conditions were examined to design the housing units. The chosen approach was to use local resources and manual labour to build deployable units, capable of becoming permanent shell structures via a bio-shotcreting process. Automation of a part of the construction process was evaluated through a set of spraying experiments both manual and robotic.