New Rugo Social Housing

New Rugo, designed by George Periclès Creative Think-Tank, is a low-cost housing project that draws its inspiration from the Rwandan vernacular.

Part of the Project

George Periclès was founded in 2011 by Anaïs Legrand and Guillaume Sardin, both architects and designers trained at the Nantes School of Architecture. This group of international design consultants, work across a diverse range of products from product, furniture and architectural design to graphics, branding and packaging. At the core of their approach is a belief that design is for all and that it has the power to bring value, dignity and change to people’s lives through solutions that are informed by and appropriate to its context.

One of their latest projects ‘New Rugo’ does exactly that.  The ‘u’ruga’ is a traditional Burundi and Rwandan homestead. Beehive-shaped houses made from woven branches and grasses and covered with clay were clustered together to form compounds, promoting a sense of community and kinship.

New Rugo, designed by George Periclès, is a low-cost housing project that draws its inspiration from this vernacular. The New Rugo, moves away from the colonial models of a single house on a lone plot, and embraces the traditional compound model with a progression from private to semi-private to shared public spaces.

The living units, constructed from compressed stabilised earth blocks made on site, are easily replicable and environmentally sound with natural ventilation and rainwater harvesting. With these low-cost technologies, the potential for economic opportunities through construction and the cultural appropriateness, the hope is the development will empower communities in Burundi and in Rwanda.

New Rugo was on display as part of the Africa is Now exhibition at Design Indaba Expo 2014 under the theme 'Africa is Urban' that explores cities as engines of growth and opportunity presenting an eclectic mix of contemporary urban challenges and possibilities. They are a source of vibrant design inspiration, from new architectural and urban typologies to fashion with real street cred.

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