Is it possible to stay cool in Malawi without a fan or air conditioner? Absolutely! Just ask parishioners of the Rural Church, located in the Chimphamba community. Built to replace a worn down community center, the place of worship was built with the aid of design nonprofit Architecture for a Change and maintains a cool temperature due to a number of eco-friendly installations.
As Inhabitat reports, the design of the building was inspired by the African drum and is circular-shaped. To stay naturally cool in the subtropical heat, it relies on a thermal mass of earthen bricks, a ventilation tower and wall openings.
Three boxes, which are made of local burnt red brick, match the rustic vernacular and are inserted into the round building. The first serves as a foyer, whereas the second, taller box uses the stack effect to function as a ventilation tower for cooling. Because of temperature differences and varying air pressures within the building, the ventilation tower can passively pull hot air to the top of the building while simultaneously sucking cool air in. This keeps the infrastructure naturally cool.
Architecture for a Change collaborated with the chiefs of the Chimphamba community and the Youth of Malawi group to build the unique structure. Though outside aid was utilized, the building is infused with aspects of African culture. For instance, in addition to having a circular shape, the structure is cylinder in length. This is to symbolize safety and protection in the community. The architects say that the church’s shape “was used as a metaphor for the design: as space that will protect and safeguard the sense of community in Chimphamba.”
All in all, the Christian church was built for around $35,000 (USD). Because it exists as a place of worship and offers members respite from the heat, it is treasured in the Chimphamba community. What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!