Urko Sanchez Architects built this 15-home village in Djibouti, for the SOS Children’s Organization. The development was located on the Horn of Africa, a mostly French and Arabic-speaking country of dry shrublands, volcanic formations and Red Sea beaches – a site known for one of the hottest temperatures on earth.
With these conditions in mind, Urko Sanchez Architects decided that building the homes in a very local way – creating narrow streets that would shade one another, providing natural ventilation and corridors of wind flow – was the right way to go. In the end, what they did was develop and design a small village with open, pedestrian-only streets and playing fields for children and teenagers, almost an internal playground of gingerbread-house elements and slides. The houses in this village are closed to the outside; they look inwards, protecting residents from the elements, while providing privacy and excellent ventilation.