Subterranean vs. Elevating

As I explored ideas of elevating or subterranean building, different considerations came up. As far as digging into the ground, the thermal massing of the ground allows for better protection of extreme heat (see the main image).

Overall, the soil conditions found in our Turkana area do not seem to be the best soil types. Due to the lack of irrigation, it seems that most of the soil has a dry sandy layer on top, shallow poor soil, no organic matter with a unconsolidated weathering rock layer below.  Most of the land here is considered near-barren, with little rain. When it does rain it seems the ground looses a lot as runoff, since the soils can not be permeated. This could cause problems at the site.

Additional research showed the importance of elevating the ground mainly from ants/rats. Granaries are usually elevated to keep the food storages safe.

An example of a Sudan savannah style of construction combines both strategies for dealing with the sun and rain. As seen below, the natives build on top of a rock foundation, which is used to elevate the floor from the ground. This location is only located a small distance northward, so potentially similar conditions could be found in Turkana.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.21.54 AM

This PDF went into some really basic sheltering ideas.

General Shelters that could save your life


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