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AVN is shortlisted for Buckminster Fuller Challenge!

Tony Kaye's picture

Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN) was awarded a DM grant in 2009 to test an innovative strategy for scaling up and accelerating the recruitment and training of Nubian Vault (NV) apprentices and the growth of a self-sustaining market in NV houses in Burkina Faso. The Nubian Vault is an ancient Egyptian technique of building vaulted roofs made from local bricks without using any wood, instead of typical tin roofs that are more expensive and use scarce wood during construction. AVN is transforming traditional housing available in the harsh climate of the Sahel region by providing a sustainable housing alternative and helping to avoid further deforestation.

BFC Logo - credit: challenge.bfi.orgAVN has taken on the Buckminster Fuller Challenge (BFC) and is in the running for $100,000 for the submission of our Earth roofs in the Sahel program. Our entry was published in the BFC Idea Index 1.0 on Tuesday, February 14.

Named "Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award" by Metropolis Magazine, the Challenge is an annual international prize program that awards $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a solution with significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

We are thrilled to been chosen for the Challenge review process, as it confirms our belief that we are helping solve the pressing problem of access to decent housing in Africa. The review will bring our work to the attention of influential design science leaders such as Josè Zaglul, Vandana Shiva, Danny Hillis, William McDonough, John Thackara, Hunter Lovins, Kenny Ausubal and Nina Simon.

Construction of a two-vault house, Boromo, Burkina Faso - credit: Thomas Granier / challenge.bfi.orgWe expect to be a serious contender for the award, and winning the Challenge would be a tremendous honor; we are also delighted for the opportunity to be part of a network that is advancing and accelerating the practice of comprehensive, whole systems thinking to develop the kind of high impact global solutions we so desperately need.

We look forward to an engaging review process, and should our project win, we plan to leverage the $100k to scale up our program of training NV masons and project managers so as to be able to extend our Program to new countries in Africa (for example, Zambia, Botswana, Ghana).

We are proud to be affiliated with this important Challenge. I would like to encourage everyone in our online community of supporters check out our project page in the BFC Idea Index and submit comments.