mudLIBRARY – building a library in Ghana

Project leaders: Hannah Berger, Luisa Zunft, Manuel Obermoser, Beatrice Aimeé, M. Sc. Anna Schweiger, M. Sc. Jaap Willemsen
Project advisor: Ao. Univ. Prof. DI Dr. Andrea Rieger-Jandl
Partners: Archifair, Bookdrop Ghana, Community of Nsutem, Hive Earth
AVN Nubian Vault Association: Emmanuel Atubiga, Samuel Kogo, Tony Kaye
Type of project: Design and Build
Project funding: TU Wien scholarships, private fund raising
Duration: Oct. 2020 – Nov. 2021
www.archifair.org/mudlibrary/; www.instagram.com/archifair/?hl=de

Master Thesis´ affiliated with this project:
Zunft, Luisa
: mudLIBRARY. Architecture in a Development Context, TU Wien, 2023
Berger, Hannah: mudLIBRARY. Designing a Library in Ghana, TU Wien, 2023
Obermoser, Manuel: mudLIBRARY. Construction of a library in Ghana, TU-Wien, 2023

The mudLIBRARY is building project in the village of Nsutem, Ghana. Students from the architecture faculty of TU Wien designed and implemented an earthen building in close cooperation with the local community, the NGO Bookdropghana, the Accra-based construction company Hive Earth and many volunteers.

The library comprises two rooms. The main area covers about 50m2 and is equipped with a 5 meter long bookshelf and several tables and chairs. Suspended from the timber trusses, the bookshelf floats freely in space and can be circled from all sides. The media room with about 25m2 is equipped with four computers with internet access. The idea is to facilitate computer-literacy workshops here in the future. The two rooms are enclosed by a spacious covered outdoor area with several retreat and seating areas. Including the covered areas, the built-area of the library adds up to about 275 m2. The library is connected to the local electricity grid and there is lighting both inside and outside. In addition to the library and directly connected to the existing canteen building, we have also built a canopy with a washing and cooking area.

The mudLIBRARY provides people in Nsutem and arround access to literature and digital media. Where for most people in Europe a library is a standard facility, in Ghana, and especially in rural areas, this is absolutely not the case. But there is more. The mudLIBRARY, for example, also demonstrates that mud (earth or loam) can be a modern building material and, when used properly, a superior alternative to cement blocks.

Text: Archifair

01-04 Fotos: Manuel Obermoser
07-08 Plans: Hannah Berger
09 Construction site, Foto: ArchiFair
10 Team project leaders, Foto: ArchiFair
11 Village leaders, Foto: ArchiFair