Research Project Scaling Down



Global urbanization is growing with immense speed. Especially in developing countries like Ethiopia the increasing number of urban inhabitants raise the question for appropriate construction materials and technologies, to satisfy the immense need for affordable shelter and housing units. Scaling Down researches the possibilities to use local available materials, locally known construction technologies and methods and merging them with an high-end understanding of building construction in the academic and international realm. Re-Inventing construction methodologies with available construction materials can result in a re-interpretation of the term “appropriateness”. Design has to be understood as a holistic approach, where social, ecological and for most people economical factors are the determining boundary conditions.

Ethiopia and most of all its capital Addis Ababa is lacking housing supply for the lower and lowest income groups. Scaling Down tries to contribute on solving the shortage of housing by making it affordable and appropriate for the most part of the urban society.


The objective of Scaling Down is to propose alternative housing typologies, which are affordable, livable, flexible and sustainable with the appropriate construction details. The final result of the research will deliver a detailed catalogue with specific building systems and optimized details, a guiding booklet on construction processes as well as manuals for necessary maintenance.

Research Methodology

Analyzing the current situation: during analysis the existing housing construction and the existing social conditions in Ethiopia are studied from the inner city (starting from lowest income shelters) up to the countryside (vernacular).Defining criteria: the research will set different criteria for affordable housing units according to different income groups.



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