Brandon is a native of Orlando who decided to move to Africa to get some hands-on experience building affordable homes after a stint at a design firm in the states. Now, instead of sitting in a cubicle, he spends his time developing affordable housing schemes and putting them into action. He’s studied a variety of practical building techniques, and gets fully involved in every stage, enabling him to get a feel for the most sensible approaches.
Rogers has two key structures that demonstrate his efforts. The first is his rural studio or as he calls it, his “bush studio” which is located in the eastern region of Ghana on a plot of land that he acquired to practice his skills on. The building is made out of stone and mud, which originally triggered many raised eyebrows. In Ghana and throughout Africa, there is a stigma associated with building with mud. Many locals told Rogers that it connotes poverty, but he decided to stick to his hope of building a structure using materials indigenous to the land.
The Bush Studio is 12′ x 18′ (approx. 215 sq. ft.) and the walls are slightly angled so the front face appears curved and allows for a butterfly roof design, which is not only aesthetically appealing but more importantly creates a funnel to collect rainwater. The foundation of the building is composed of rumble stone built against a wooden framework. The blocks were made with a manual press from reclaimed soil from a hand dug well at a neighboring site. On the front face there are a series of vertical louvered windows which allow nice airflow and create a panoramic view.
The building is reinforced with standard columns and a lintel beam, and the roof is framed using locally machined 2 x 6 wood. For the roofing, a roofing sheet called Onduline was used because its composition hinders the dissipation of heat. As for the entries, there is an over-sized barn door on one side so the space can be opened up to the exterior and a single bi-fold door on the opposite side.