Local innovation for scalable solutions built on quality

MATERIA’s vision is to become the developer of reference for economically efficient and architecturally and socially relevant real estate projects across Africa and beyond. This is achieved through Impact Investments that follows our three core principles:


Economic Sustainability

MATERIA develops project with an eye to their profitability and returns to guarantee private funding attractiveness.

Where the clear impossibility of the public sector to tackle efficiently structural problem as sustainable construction or affordable housing, the few positive projects in Africa have so far been mostly limited to the non-profit realm, bounding each venture to be an isolated example and as such to be considered an exception.

MATERIA aims to structurally change the status quo through projects that can provide concrete guidance to be followed by the for-profit private enterprises that are bound to build the great part of the future architectural landscape of the continent.

Local Development = Knowledge transfer + local materials and labour

MATERIA brings together the best minds amidst different disciplines to tackle local problem through the most efficient possible use of local resources.

Through initiatives such as the USI Workshop knowledge transfer helps becomes one of the main achievements of any given project. Importantly, the transfer is bi-directional insofar.

MATERIA’s buildings come to epitomise this exchange through the clever use of local resources and the most innovative techniques. As per the Incremental Construction inspired by African communities’ traditional approach to self-building, or through Passive Ventilation measures, MATERIA targets innovation that can form the future construction benchmarks for a better built world, both in Africa and in the developed world.


Incremental Construction

MATERIA and Kere Architecture have envisaged a new approach to design and construction of affordable housing which will be able to cater for different needs and budgets while keeping the initial investment as low as possible.

Through an incremental constructions system, MATERIA is able to provide houses modules delivered with all its structural components (roof, foundation, etc.) which can accommodate a future house expansion. The narrow central part of the building contains all infrastructural needs, such as the bathroom, the stairs and small corridors, passive air-conditioning and storage.

These integrated frameworks for Incremental Housing are not unlike traditional African settlements that grow and shrink based on the size and needs of the community. Different housing typologies can be built with the same modules in order to cater to different needs and price levels. Each unit will be delivered with all its structural components (roof, foundation, walls, etc.) but with the potential to expand it easily and economically depending on the desire and budget constraints of the buyer. By offering a semi-complete house to buyers, Incremental Housing allow people to access the house ownership ladder at a reduced budget.

Passive Ventilation

MATERIA fosters climatic innovation and adaption to local conditions as much as possible. Natural shading from landscape, infrastructure for water/energy collection and distribution, passive ventilation, and local building materials with high insulating quality are therefore utilised. Maximal cooling and ventilation is achieved through the separation of major living and sleeping quarters, courtyards, attractive masonry screens that draw in air cooled by the riverside and landscaping, and double-envelope ceilings that let warm air escape.

Long-term costs for residents are substantially reduced by minimizing building maintenance and artificial climate control. Passive ventilation is achieved through careful study of sun exposure, double-envelope roofing systems, vents opening in both ceiling and floors to encourage natural air flow and use of highly insulating materials such as firebricks or EPS.


Financial Sustainability

Flexible Urbanisation

In large housing schemes MATERIA provides in addition to the housing a basic framework for Schooling & Social Infrastructure. Establishing a strong community core first will allow the housing around it to fluctuate and grow in response to economy and population size, which is the reverse concept of typical suburban developments that emphasize rigid structures of housing without a strong or clear concept of community space or essential pedestrian functions.

MATERIA’s masterplans value density, variety and proximity of housing and infrastructure so that resources and public amenities can be shared in a more centralized. This fosters a strong sense of community and inclusion, allowing residents and businesses to reducing overall maintenance and energy expenses in the long-term. Common vital resources in the area including natural shading from landscape, infrastructure for water/energy collection and distribution, biogas from local water treatment plants, and locally available materials and technologies for construction are instead leveraged. This new urban grid also maximizes and facilitates passive ventilation for all new constructions through strategic planning and positioning of buildings and double-envelope roofing systems.