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Kenyan low-cost house design wins global award

Kenyan architectural firm BellTower’s low-cost housing design is on the verge of global adoption after emerging the winner in the Lexus Design Award (LDA) Grand Prix.

The Nairobi-based firm whose design incorporates an expanded water harvesting mechanism received Sh2.5 million from the makers of Lexus luxury vehicles, that will be spent on a physical replica of the low-cost eco-friendly house.

Global adoption of the low-cost design would see BellTower earn attractive royalties for its design.

“BellTower expands our definition of design to include systems of finance for community projects and engages the critical role clean drinking water plays in citizens' ability to thrive,” said Programme judge and Studio Gang founding principal architect Jeanne Gang.

The competition attracted 2,042 participants from 79 countries where BellTower, founded in 2014, virtually pitched their design dubbed ‘Open Source Communities’ that solves the clean water problem as well as provides a living area for low income families.

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Speaking about their design, the firm’s director John Kamau said they are seeking to solve the main challenges that define slums, namely scarcity of space and access to clean water.

BellTower will receive mentorship from Lexus designers on how to upscale their model project as well as have the same exhibited at the automaker’s car shows.

Launched in 2013, the LDA targets up-and-coming creators whose works help shape a better future where winning projects are sponsored to scale up.

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