NESTown - New Ethiopian Sustainable Town, Bura, Amhara, Ethiopia

The NESTown (New Energy Self-Sustained Town, or also, New Ethiopian Sustainable Town) concept was created by Prof. Em. Franz Oswald (ETH).

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The goals and approach of the project are to address the challenges associated with the rapid population grown of Ethiopian cities by creating a new, sustainable pilot town to accommodate around 12,000 people. Moreover, the project endeavors to offer a compensation for lost agricultural land caused by population growth. Supported by a Holcim Foundation grant, housing prototypes and models will be built in only three years. The development of technical infrastructure and appropriate technology will create jobs for the community, while the skills learned by the inhabitants in the building process will give them future market opportunities. The project will make efficient use of the natural resources in the area for the purposes of farming, construction and energy, depending mainly on renewable energy such as solar for power generation, and creating a waste management system that will include recycling from the start. This will set the community in a high profile position as a green town that will serve as a model for the rest of Ethiopia.

The BLOCK Research Group is responsible for the development of structural systems, based on local materials and labor, to build the energy self-sufficient model town for the Amhara region in Ethiopia.


Appropriate construction

Appropriate construction

Compression-only shell structures have the advantage of requiring very low material strengths while still being able to efficiently span large spaces. This advantage allows the construction of robust structures in contexts where reinforced concrete or steel are not readily available, using local materials instead. This research examines the role of structural design in building low-cost, environmentally responsible and safe structures with locally produced elements and local labour.


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