The Materials Book

220 Pizza and Dirt in Uganda: A Student-Led Project Proves the Viability of Rammed-Earth Construction Achilles Ahimbisibwe Most Ugandans live in impoverished villages or urban slums, in run-down homes crafted from mud, wood, tin, and low-quality bricks. But our architecture schools do little to promote building for such contexts, instead preferring to train graduates to design for the affluent elites in a handful of cities—missing vast opportunities to create more sustainable communities. At the Faculty of the Built Environment at Uganda Martyrs University, we focus on holistic education and a neighborhood-scale approach aimed at helping communities better understand and manage their natural and built environments. Energy use, waste management, material production, indoor comfort, and the aesthetic quality of materials all present opportunities for architects to contribute at a human scale. With guidance from Martin Rauch and Anna Heringer—pioneers in the field of earth and bamboo construction—the faculty developed what we call the Pizza Kiosk Project. The idea was to build a structure on our campus where we could deploy alternative materials that could be locally sourced and to understand their effect on the cost of building. The ultimate goal was to find ways to improve fuel efficiency at local kilns, increase the reuse of construction waste or salvaged materials, and raise awareness about the energy needed to create such buildings and the ongoing costs and energy needed for them. The project gave our students experience working on a real site with an actual client. They designed a small pizza