The Djoloff expansion

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Scheduled for december 2015

The Djoloff expansion project in Fann-Hock / Dakar

A citizen, responsible and environmentally-friendly project

The Djoloff is a rare site in Dakar, at once charming and steeped in character. With a style reminiscent of Saint Louisian architecture, a refined atmosphere and its family scale, this small hotel stands out from the neighboring buildings while blending in the urban tapestry at the hinges between traditional districts and residential areas.

Scheduled for 2015, the Djoloff expansion program is a pioneering project. Through its philosophy and its architectural and technical choices, it is fast becoming an essential showcase.

Standing at odds with the speculative trends that are flourishing in Dakar, the project is intent on applying common sense as well as basic urbanization rules. It is built over three floors and only covers two thirds of the land area, whereas nearby, buildings occupy the whole plot and rise to 6 floors. The project also intends to preserve the human dimension adopted by the Djoloff in its current state.


While maintaining continuity with the existing hotel, the expansion project should also stand apart from it by boasting a more contemporary architectural style. A central patio is surrounded with twelve rooms, a conference hall, a vaulted cellar for cultural events and two terraces. The heart of this haven is open to sunshine, sky light and wind, and it facilitates access to various parts of the establishment. A garden will be fitted on the ground floor, thus taking on a key bio-climatic function.

Through this project, the Djoloff is adopts a committed stance in favor of a construction style that is at once ethical and environmentally-friendly. This frame of mind is expressed through three components: urban integration, as described above, the materials selected and the bio-climatic/energetic approach, which stems from the previous two components.

The compressed earth block (CEB) is a genuine alternative to the "all-concrete" approach. It is used here as part of an activist perspective, not simply as a decorative element or ornament, but as an integrated building solution.

The CEB load-bearing walls over three floors represent a unique contemporary architectural experience in Senegal and probably in Africa. From foundations to parapets, 30-cm thick armed concrete is used only for foundations and wall ties required for settling load distribution.

The compressed earth block (CEB) is made up of fine laterite mixed with a tiny proportion of cement (5 to 10 %) aimed at stabilizing the mix.  It is put together using a mechanical press. The project builds on the expertise of ElemenTerre, a local contractor specializing in this construction process. The attractiveness of CEB is slow to establish itself due to the limited breadth of the sector. For this project however, the cost of structural works should be lowered by 20 to 30 %. On the other hand, the social and economic impacts ought to be obvious, as raw materials are extracted from within the region and transformed locally.

From both an energy-efficiency and environmental point of view, CEB does not generate the high costs of industrial production, nor the transport costs required by the use of cement, imported steel or unbridled sand extraction.
The raw materials are extracted nearby and transformed in situ, leading to high energy efficiency and low carbon footprint.

With a project design that takes into consideration bio-climatic concerns, the hotel should be able to lower its energy costs.
The thick clay-brick walls have the combined benefits of high inertia and natural thermal and sound isolation.
In the patio, air flows through convection, thus removing the need for motorized ventilation and reducing the need for permanent air conditioning.
The choice of an air-conditioning system based on a freezing water unit also leads to significant gains in energy efficiency for the whole building and precludes the use of refrigerant gases, which are known for being harmful to the environment.
Hot water for restrooms will be produced through a thermal solar unit on the roof.
Lighting will be low-consumption throughout and its timer system will minimize the use of electricity.
The rest of the interior work promotes the use of materials with high local added value, resorting to local craftsmen of Dakar. Wood and metal are given preference over imported synthetic or mineral materials.

Ethical choices may need a significant investment, but their positive impact on the world of our our children justifies that we pioneer them.

Steeped in these principles, the Djoloff projects and integrates itself in a responsible and innovative manner into the future.