Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 10/10/16
The Rock House
Kumbo, Nso Region, Northwest Province, Cameroon
250 sf. Greenroof
Project of the Week Description & Details
Tucked into a remote hillside of rocky, volcanic soil against the backdrop of a pastoral landscape in Northwestern Cameroon, The Rock House project sits at an elevation of 6500 feet in the highlands of the Nso kingdom outside of the regional capital of Kumbo. Deluged by sixty inches of precipitation in the rainy season and parched by a dry season lasting 5 months, the design relies on what is immediately available within a stone’s throw. This green roof was planned and built to star as the pilot project of AREA, the African Research & Exchange Academy, the brainchild of Dr. Ajume Wingo, a man dedicated to helping his country and community. Designer Karla Dakin wanted a building that literally fit into the environment with an infinity edge roof where green roof and horizon meld into one.
The vernacular architecture of Cameroon tends to look inward to protect against the glaring light, heat, and dust of summer and the relentless, winter winds and rains. There are no formal, commercial, or established systems used here. With the indispensable ingenuity of structural engineer Terence Lendzele, Dakin designed the glorified “shed” to wrap itself around volcanic stone. She dug up native grasses, perennials and soil (2-3 inches in depth) and carried it in buckets up to the roof, laying it down exactly as it lived on porous rock nearby. She trained a young man, Ferdinand, to help her and he quickly became the project coordinator, taking charge of the planting and making sure plenty of native flowers and mosses found their way up to a new home. As for irrigation and maintenance, this roof will rely on the natural elements. “The Rock House,” as the locals call it, defies the elements atop a barren hill with picture windows taking in a breathtaking view for miles and miles. Dr. Wingo tells people it is an art piece because they cannot believe it is a building.
NOTE: Landscape architect Karla Dakin, also the architectural designer for The Rock House, would appreciate any help identifying the native plants found on the site for the greenroof. She says there are no books for plants for this particular region, and although there is one for a nearby region, it is very expensive with no guarantee it will contain the correct vegetation.
Any ideas? Please contact Karla at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owner: AREA (African Research & Exchange Academy), Dr. Ajume Wingo
Location: Kumbo, Nso Region, Northwest Province, Cameroon
Building Type: Multi-Use
Type: Extensive, Test/Research
Size: 250 sq.ft.
Access: Inaccessible, Private
Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Architectural Designer and Landscape Architect: Karla Dakin, Principal, K. Dakin Design Inc.
Structural Engineer: Terence Lendzele
Project Coordinator: Ferdinand
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