Welcome to the first solar-powered village in all of Egypt. Situated in the middle of the desert, around the Bahariya Oasis, the newly-erected Tabeyat Workers Village is currently home to around 350 people. Designed by KarmBuild, this unique, solar-powered area makes use of locally-sourced, natural materials, as a way of reducing environmental footprint.
Touted as “the only company in Egypt to integrate solar technology into a building’s design”, Karmbuild focuses on designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and utilitarian. According to chief architect Karim Kafrawi, people in Egypt consider solar panels to be unattractive and unnecessary, which is where KarmBuild comes in. The firm’s expertise lies in integrating photovoltaic technologies into modern home designs in an elegant manner.
The houses in the Tabeyat Workers Village, for instance, feature an array of roof-mounted solar panels that produce all the energy the community requires. As pointed out by the developers, the PV cells are placed such that they appear as seamless extensions of the dwellings’ stone walls. Additionally, these panels serve as “thermal roof protection”. Speaking about the project, Kafrawi said:
The idea was to create an architectural character that would smoothly blend into the natural landscape so that from a distance, this rather large building would be discreet, almost invisible expect for the towering stone structures highlighted by the P.V. solar panels reflecting the sky and sun.
What’s more, the architects relied on sustainable building techniques, including the use of up to 90-percent local materials as well as other energy-saving methods. Instead of removing the sandstone covering the region’s desert, the team utilized this “wealthy natural resource” to construct the houses of the village. This in turn allows the structures to blend seamlessly with the surrounding arid landscape.
The architects specifically chose construction techniques that help reduce waste, while also bringing down costs. Kafrawi went on to say:
The high intensity of the sun along with the wide possible uses of viable natural building materials in these areas open up great possibilities for strong sustainable development solutions in the area. We work on trying to provide solutions that blend these two very different elements in a non-intrusive and attractive manner that works with the local architecture, whether traditional or modern, in the region. We believe there is great potential to change the architectural landscape in these areas to be more self-sufficient, sustainable, and comfortable for occupants.
To learn more about the Tabeyat Workers Village, click here.