The Mikayla House is a guest house for families who have children staying in the Hope Center for Children with Disabilities. The project was funded in memory of Mikayla Jackson. Construction was completed in 2020.
In 2019 GoDesign began construction of the first buildings for the Fountain of Hope expansion; a girls’ dormitory to house 240 girls on campus and new restrooms.
Across Africa development has been slow and often people with disabilities never find help or support for those needs. This fact rings true in Ethiopia where only ONE mental/physical disability hospital exist for over 89 million people. After a lot of prayer and conversations with the local government officials, GoDesign and our local partner VWDO decided to conduct a survey of the disability needs where we are working. In this particular zone they estimate a population of around 36,000 people of that the survey showed that 1500 children under the age of 18 in this zone had either a mental or physical disability that prevented them from participating the school or any other community activities.
After being overwhelmed by these statistics we decided to act and after 3 years of construction, the Hope Center for Children with Disabilities is complete! The Hope Center is our largest project to date and includes a school, clinic, and dorm housing for children with mental and physical disabilities. The Center officially opened its doors to children in early 2020. Due to COVID the Center is currently closed and will reopen at a later date.
John DuRant became a supporter of GoDesign in 2012 and soon thereafter decided he wanted to help GoDesign build a school. John planned to run 50 miles on his 50th birthday to raise money for the the project. After pitching this idea to GoDesign’s founder, Scott Jackson, they launched plans to build the school in one of the neediest areas in the country.
GoDesign used local rocks in the construction of this project, a material readily available. A few modifications to the design, to cut cost and to improve the thermal qualities of the building were made from a previous GoDesign structure in the building. This building shares the same design as the Matthew Courtright Memorial Project.
Watch the 50 for 50 video here
GoDesign founder, Scott Jackson, along with fellow SCAD architecture alumni Matthew Courtright, Luke Hellkamp, Christina Royall, Coty Ekhoff Sandberg and Lisa Gallant worked together for several months drawing up plans in preparation to build a housing duplex.
The project was located in the southern town of Dilla next to a school that GoDesign had constructed the previous year. The goal was to use local tools and native building techniques to build a residential unit that could house the teachers of the school. During the 12 day experience the group saw the beginning of the construction but was also engaged in the lives of the people in the area sharing in coffee ceremonies and ministry.
After the unexpected passing of Matthew in August 2013 a memorial fund was set up the family. With the funds given, GoDesign was able to build a school in Ethiopia in his memory. This is only the 5th high school in a region of 1.75 million people. The design is very similar to the 50 for 50 school as GoDesign continues to teach the locals the value of local materials and the benefit to large thermal mass. We would like to thank the family and friends as well as Stone Brewing for the outpouring of support to construct this project.
Watch the Matthew Courtright Memorial High School video here
Traditional residential methods of wottle and dob have been replicated for decades. The construction involves weaving wood together then filling it with a mud based compound. Locals were facing issues with termite damage as the wood mud mixture made a perfect home for termites. The average life of a home built with this method in the region is 10-15 years.
GoDesign introduced a new kind of construction that uses the cheap and readily available material – dirt. Designed and constructed to assist the local government in their efforts to offer alternative ideas, without adding wooden structural elements into the dirt. This prototype has two separate structure systems. The walls are self-supported by the stacking of earthbags with barb wire running between each layer. A separate column system supports the roof. The windows float above the earthbags and attach to the roof system. Once the earthbags are stacked they are covered with a concrete plaster to prevent the sun from destroying the bags.
In October of 2011 GoDesign partnered with Impact Ethiopia to act as a donor organization in the design and construction of a school in Dilla, Ethiopia. This project was constructed as an example of how to use alternative materials in the construction of buildings in southern Ethiopia. Three pits were dug on site providing dirt which were used as the primary building material. Dirt was then compacted inside of forms with tamps made of concrete. This construction process is called rammed earth construction.
The northern region of Ethiopia is known to be one of the hottest and driest places on earth. The people here are nomadic and follow their herds in search for water. According to VWDO, a local NGO working with these people; only 10% of the school aged children have an opportunity to attend school. In many towns in this region there are no schools. Where you find schools the education level is very poor, so poor that most families are not willing to send their children. Because of the hot and dry climate most buildings in this area are very uncomfortable to inhabit during the day. Due to this issue people take advantage of whatever breeze and shade may be found outside. The goal for this project was to create classrooms that would be comfortable for the children throughout the day and would use as many local materials as possible. The nearest market was a two hour drive, which would make many materials very expensive. We decided to use rock as the primary building material due to its abundance in the region. Due to being constructed in an earthquake zone, the building has large vertical columns and horizontal concrete bracing for extra support. The large rock walls have great thermal mass which keeps this building about 15 degrees cooler than other buildings in this region.
In the summer of 2012 GoDesign came across a family in great need. The family (the guard for the Dilla project) consisted of a husband and wife, three children, two goats and a chicken. The father is uneducated and unemployed and the mother recently completed the eighth grade at the age of 29. When we met this family they lived in a 4m x 4m house made of mud that was about to fall over. In this house the family of 5 and the animals shared one twin mattress. This family was living on the site of the Dilla multipurpose building and was guarding the property in exchange for a place to live. The housing prototype idea was born after meeting this family. How could we build a prototype house that anyone in the community could study and apply our building concepts to their future houses. This house was not given to the family but used as an example for the community on how to construct alternative housing.Our goal was to build a home that could house this family and their animals. Because they had no power, natural light was important in the design concept.As we began to design the house it became apparent that in addition to natural light, water was another key issue that needed to be addressed. Most families must bring water to their home from the local water source, this can be expensive for the typical family in rural Ethiopia. GoDesign applied a butterfly roof to the house allowing for the collection of rain water. This water can be used for washing of clothes, bathing, and for cleaning needs.