SOS Children’s Village provides shelter for vulnerable children and their families in Djibouti

Urko Sanchez Architects’ award-winning residential complex for children provides a safe-haven from extreme temperatures.

From the Series

Spain and Kenya-based Urko Sanchez Architects aspires to become leaders in East African architecture – a realistic vision considering the many awards the firm has already received for various projects in Africa. Included in its portfolio of accolades is a recent Architecture for Social Gain Award for its SOS Children’s Village, which was commissioned by international children’s rights NGO, SOS Kinderdorf.

In response to the brief, which required a 15-house residence to be built in a small plot, Urko Sanchez Architects decided on a medina design – a typical North African structure comprised of a walled quarter surrounding a series of maze-like streets and buildings. The compound would provide a safe environment for children to play, open spaces to build a sense of community, and green courtyards that offer shade from the heat.

The Children’s Village is located in Tadjourah, Djibouti – a place with one of the hottest temperatures on the earth. To counter the extremely hot weather, natural ventilation chimneys were built to increase airflow and narrow streets were designed to create shaded passages that provide natural ventilation and corridors of cool wind blowing through the complex.