Smart And Sustainable Building In Sierra Leone

Until now, most buildings in the West African country have been constructed with cement bricks. However, as cement prices rise, the buildings are becoming more and more expensive.
Another problem is that the cement bricks are very impractical for the indoor climate: They heat up during the day and still give off heat to the interior at night. The alternative has long been to use simple clay bricks, but their pressure resistance is very low and in the heavy rainy season the walls wash out quickly– so what to do?

In order to use more sustainable and local building materials, our partner Forikolo e.V. applies a special solution for the school project at Barbara Junior Secondary School: pressed clay bricks with an interlocking shape!

In many parts of Sierra Leone, you find clayey soil suitable for building, which is often recognizable by its red color. This soil gets enriched with cement and is then pressed into shape. This results in a brick that can match the cement bricks in strength and is even water-resistant to a certain degree! Admittedly, it cannot be soaked in water like a cement brick, but if the roof is well constructed, it is possible to leave the pressed clay bricks without plaster. 

To save further cement, the clay bricks are not laid with mortar, but in a so-called interlocking shape. This shape has the special feature that one brick can “snap” into the next. Loosely based on the “Lego” principle, the bricks are stacked on top of each other without a binder to form a stable wall. This principle makes the whole building even more sustainable and we can’t wait to present you the final result soon!