The Kaloum Bankhi Big Idea is “process-focused” and not “product focused”. Architecture is an art capable of bringing social change to the slums of Kaloum, Guinea.

The mission is to ensure every resident in Kaloum lives in a durable home, and the approach is multi-disciplinary in establishing a self-sustaining local supply chain. The project is possible through a three part physical, financial, and sociocultural innovation. The house model is designed to be built in stages instead of all at once. This enables residents to remain in their own home during a progressive transformation at the householder’s pace and cash-flow. The project is embracing savings collection schemes that are already widely used and community-based, reducing project operating costs.

The vibrant community will learn new skills as new homes are built and quality of life improves. Residents will receive training in the production and assembly of housing materials. Tools and equipment are provided as shared community property. Acquired skills can be converted for home-based earnings, helping homeowners offset the
costs of the house. As houses are improved through community and collectivized social systems, the project expects to witness social bridging between the different groups of an already strong community.

After winning first place in the Big Ideas Art and Social Change category at the University of California, Kaloum Bankhi proceeded with the construction of a second prototype,  reducing costs and using entirely recycled materials. Garnered knowledge is being applied to further home design.