TunaHAKI Theater, Moshi, Tanzania, 2008 Building Area: (sf)10,000 sq ft Location of Project: Moshi Tanzania Type of Project: Public Theater Construction materials, mechanical systems or other pertinent information Fabric formed concrete, earth block, Biogas system
Summary In Kiswahili, “TunaHAKI” means “we have rights”! The belief that children have rights to a clean and productive future is the basis for the TunaHAKI Center in Moshi, Tanzania. Environmentally and socially sustainable, the fundamental action of the TunaHAKI Foundation is to provide orphan children with a home, medical care, education, and training for a position in their village, city, and the world. The program is at once ordinary and spectacular, an orphanage and a public theater, a private compound connected to a festive gathering place.
The architects are dedicated to the necessity of acting locally, understanding traditional building types and the availability of local materials both natural and manufactured, are working together with local leaders on the design. A rural site with a view of Mt. Kilimanjaro has been purchased for the compound. At the orphanage, familiar activities occur in new ways which avoid environmental degradation. Garbage is composted and contained rather than burned, solar cookers replace wood fire stoves to prevent deforestation and smoke, rainwater is collected, gray water is used for garden irrigation, solar water heaters and solar electric panels and wind turbines generate light and heat, a sustainable system will treat sewage.
The visionary Tanzanian artist and TunaHAKI founder imagined an orphanage supported by a public theater. Supported by Cirque du Soleil, TunaHAKI children participate in cultural events at the theater, learn circus arts, and form a family through acrobatics and dance. Locals and tourists enjoy cultural gatherings in the courtyard.
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The buildings are designed to be low maintenance. Construction materials include local volcanic stone, concrete with fly ash, recycled metal, bamboo, woven fibers, and crafts. Lighting plays a special role in a theater, where it is also a symbol of sustainable change. Local manpower is used to promote the empowerment of the whole community.
Change is not forced; instead each small change is a contribution of a locally identified stakeholder, such as a local government supported factory that produces solar equipment. Education for building low-tech wind turbines is also likely to happen. When simple and logical ways of living and building are presented to children in their home environments it becomes natural to continue those practices when they move beyond the center. The children can be proud that they are part of sustainable change in their country.
Quantum change and transferability The building program, a small orphanage linked to a theater, which benefits the children socially and financially, is a symbol of quantum change; instead of a center for outcasts, TunaHAKI is a model to follow, for energy and economic independence. Improved cooking, sanitation, and water collection systems, constructed and integrated with local and recycled materials will be studied and easily adapted locally in Moshi. Internationally, the project is posted for study on the Open Architecture Network, an online, open-source community dedicated to improving living conditions through innovative and sustainable design, http://www.openarchitecturenetwork.org sponsored by Architecture for Humanity.
Ethical standards and social equity TunaHAKI Center succeeds on several counts, such as: 1) program raises the status of orphan children, involves them in the building process, and with commitment from the Cirque du Soleil, trains them for circus, a trade, or profession; 2) TunaHAKI Foundation is committed to improved working conditions; and 3) project employs local manpower.
Ecological quality and energy conservation Smoke is a real problem in Moshi. The design for the center avoids production of smoke. Cleaner methods of cooking and disposing of waste avoid the need for fires, and the se- lection of volcanic rock avoids baked bricks. Fresh air ventilation adopted from termite hills is incorporated into the walls of the orphanage. Wind turbines and solar panels will power lights and heat water. LED lighting, used in a dramatic manner in the theater, needs only a fraction of the energy consumed by incandescent lighting, which lowers costs and increases reliability. Roof structure is ventilated and insulated. Bamboo is used for its durability and fast re- growth. Materials are local and recycled whenever possible. Rainwater harvesting and ecological sanitation systems are implemented.
Economic performance and compatibility In Tanzania, economy of means is the norm; the project is in balance with its context. Many in Moshi are poor and live with little, but even still, local economic participation, through do- nation of materials, labor, craft, expertise, is encouraged, to ensure true local ownership. The foundation and the com- munity share some initial costs; maintenance money is generated by special theater events.
Contextual and aesthetic impact The design of TunaHAKI Center reflects careful contextual study of local building traditions, and the desire to symbolize aspirations for the future. A rural site allows for freedom and creativity, a healthy environment for children and visitors. The courtyard spaces are familiar and comfortable, the theater is the only one in town, and the design reflects the excitement.