2013 - 2014 | SICU

SICU – Sustainable Incremental Construction Unit is a housing solution made entirely of prefabricated elements. The solution uses locally available and locally produced building elements, and is provided as a semi-finished construction that the homeowners then complete themselves.
Simple building elements and a clear construction principle using prefabricated concrete elements (foundation and columns) are combined with lightweight timber frames and readymade wall panels with integrated windows and doors

It addresses the needs for participatory design through a process-oriented building typology. In the current implementation, with its accompanying business model and level of dissemination, it is possible to self-build the basic housing unit in less than two weeks using a mixture of local small businesses and participation from the local community.
The modular design concept makes it possible to use for very dense and small plots and it can be used in combination to achieve economies of scale and create larger, flexible aggregate structures that fit into the surrounding urban structure.
Almost 90% of the building components have been specifically designed and sorted for convenient development by micro, small-scale and medium-sized business enterprises.
Given that imported building materials, expensive customized processes and inflexible cast-in-situ systems currently predominate in the building sector, this shift presents a cost-efficient and faster alternative for the construction sector. All prefabricated building elements come in standard dimensions according to a modular system.
Careful and intensive preparation work preceded the processing and manufacturing of the elements to ensure that non-professionals can undertake construction and assembly using well-known connection techniques and that components match standard dimensions.
A detailed building information model and a process model guarantees a consistent quality of production, predictable production costs, and programmable time schedules. Using a parameterized approach, the design system can quickly respond to different situations and design requirements, making it possible to quickly simulate and evaluate new design variants. Construction manuals, and business and financial investment plans are derived directly from the digital project model.

SICU | Credits

strawtec plc, Germany
AEE Dawit Kebede Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Design and implementation
bauhaus university weimar, institute of experimental architecture in collaboration (ifex) with the EiABC at the Addis Ababa University, 2014

SICU | Parameters


Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Two units: 2013 and 2014
Construction time
Two weeks
Total floor space
86.00 m²
Floor dimensions
9.40 × 6.40 m
6.40 m
Ground floor area
28.00 m²
First floor area
28.00 m²
Extension space
30.00 m²
Max. no. of floors
Ground level + 01
Ground floor
Pre-fab elements out of concrete foundations and column
Eucalyptus rips with plywood sheets
First floor
Light timber frames and claddings, prefabricated
Eucalyptus frame, prefabricated
5,000 USD (as of late 2014)
includes the finished first floor and an open ground floor