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Projects >  Zambia >  Bwinjimfumu Housing Development

Architecture In Developing Countries

Bwinjimfumu Housing Development



In 1973 we were asked by a local developer to design a housing development in Lusaka. The site was fairly small with a slight slope across it and with a number of mature trees which the developer wanted to keep.  He also wanted to fit as many houses as possible on the site.

Design of the Development

Using my years of experience working for Phippen, Randall and Parkes in UK (who were housing specialists) I came up with a solution that comprised three terraces of 2-storey houses with small gardens at the rear grouped around a service road.  This meant that none of the houses had the ideal north-south orientation but the large trees that were retained around the edge of the site gave some protection to the houses from the afternoon sun.

The individual houses were L-shaped with on the ground floor a kitchen and dining room next to the entrance path (and with a small service courtyard in front of the kitchen); an entrance lobby with a toilet off it; a large sitting room facing on to the rear garden with an open staircase between the sitting room and dining room. 

On the first floor there was a large bedroom over the kitchen and dining room; two bedrooms over the sitting room and a bathroom opposite the staircase.

All rooms had large louvre windows with fixed louvres over doors to try and maximise cross-ventilation which is difficult in this type of high-density development.  The windows to the two bedrooms overlooking the rear gardens were set back so that there was a private zone in each garden that could not be overlooked from the bedrooms in the adjoining houses.  This also helped to reduce the solar penetration into these bedrooms.  The front wall of the sitting room was also set back to give some protection to the walls and windows.

The houses were constructed of fair-face load-bearing brickwork, with steel framed windows (all opening windows had mosquito screens) and doors and fibre-cement roof sheets.


This was an unusual development at the time in Lusaka with its fairly high-density 2-storey terraced houses but both the developer and the occupants were very happy with it.  All of the houses had gardens outside the living rooms each with a private zone together with walled service courtyards outside the kitchens.  The rooms were large and comfortable being well lit and ventilated.  The fair-faced brick external walls looked good and were low maintenance.

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