The orphanage in Loango owns 10 hectares of land in the village of Niolo, 10 km away. The plan is to use the land to create a farm, the operation of which would contribute and enable financial support for the operation of the orphanage. In connection with this, there should be accommodation for the farm manager, a storage room for tools and accommodation for children from the orphanage, who could come during the holidays and learn about the operation of the farm. There are currently two small buildings on the property that are inadequate.

The project was created with the cooperation of a Czech charity and architects and designers. As part of the charity collection, money will be collected for the implementation of the project in Niolo in DR Congo.

The land is transformed into a mosaic of fields and orchards with various agricultural uses. The fields are irrigated using a pond from a connected nearby stream. The ponds are also used for planting and bathing. A service road between Loangu and Tshela crosses the field.

In the southern corner of the property, there is a home for orphans and the caretaker's farm family, and then a repaired "larger" existing building, which serves as a tool store, a sanitary facilities facility, and an insaka social meeting space, typical of the local culture. The "smaller" existing building is recycled as a source of material due to its location on the plot and its poor condition. The main architectural design is the main building for living in the form of a longitudinal dome with a gable roof, which together covers the housing of the administrator, orphans, technical facilities and warehouses. The center of the dome is a veranda for multifunctional use, together with a drawing board wall. The entire structure is raised above ground level for protection from the elements and also offers seating around the perimeter.

The design of the building is based on the concept of an operational solution, a view, local identity and tradition. The sustainability of the project is supported by the production of electricity using PV panels from the abundant local sunlight. The object is thus self-sufficient off grid and can try to establish communication with the "Akon Lighting Africa" platform. Rainwater is collected in retention tanks and used for washing, cleaning and hygiene, irrigation.

The material solution uses local materials and technologies and processes so that the building retains the local atmosphere and is maintainable without complications. We use concrete foundations and slabs and a reinforcing ring, fired and unfired bricks, clay plasters, wooden fillings of structures and linings, steel design grids. The roof structure consists of a steel truss made of jackl profiles, corrugated sheet metal and palm leaves.

The internal microclimate creates a pleasant environment thanks to sufficient lighting and shielding against overheating. Clay plasters regulate the humidity in the space well. Ventilation is natural with the help of transverse windows and ventilation openings. All openings in the perimeter envelope are equipped with a mosquito net against insects.

We create a sustainable architecture and a pleasant environment for social interaction and knowledge.


Location: village Niolo in DR Congo, Africa, 10 km from village Loango
Site: 10 ha = 100 000 m2
Field program: rice, beans, palm oil, orchards, sheepfold, henhouse, ponds, etc.
Building program: orphanage, farm's house, sanitary facilities, insaka, reconstruction of existing house

Authors: Anita Černá, Jiří Petrželka, Tomas Roleztki
CG: Jiří Petrželka
Supervised by: Ing. Petr Čanda, Ing. Jan Tilinger, PhD
ICWD CTU in Prague

Orphanage & Farm Niolo by Jiri Petrzelka in Congo, Democratic Republic of the won the WA Award Cycle 43. Please find below the WA Award poster for this project.

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Jiri Petrzelka