Sustainable And Comfortable Khamsa House In Senegal

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Anne Francis
Anne Francis
I'm Anne, a writer sharing exciting home design ideas. My words inspire creativity for your living spaces. Let's explore ways to arrange furniture, mix colors, and create inviting atmospheres. Join me to transform your house into a place that reflects your unique style and comfort.

Named after a palm-shaped amulet that’s commonly used as a defense against the “evil eye” in North Africa and the Middle East, the Khamsa house was completed in 2015 by Atelier Koe, and it is located in Senegal. It features 3,767 square feet of living space and was constructed using compressed earth bricks complemented by 8% Portland cement.

Highly sustainable, the residence gets its power from a combination of solar and wind energy. Even the Jacuzzi and swimming pool are filtered naturally by a nearby aquatic plant zone, which means that chemical products are completely obsolete. At a glance, the abode appears very private, mainly due to the opaque glass elements incorporated in its facade. Once inside though, the owners and their guests are able to explore and enjoy spacious living areas as well as a private oasis of sorts at the rear of the house, which flaunts picture-perfect panoramas of a pond and a few tropical trees. As a matter of fact, all rooms boast glass walls that blur the limits between the indoors and outdoors while allowing a seamless flow of natural light throughout the day.

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From the architect:

From the architect: “Khamsa”, the eye in the hand, recognized as a sign of protection is the symbol we played with in the design process.

The project concept revolves around the notion of connexion and transition, from inner to outer, from light to shadow, from public to private, from reflection to absorbtion, from dry to wet ,from social to intimate.

Earth construction – Off-the-grid–hybrid solar and wind power – Vaulted earth brick cellar – Natural (plant filtered) pool, jacuzzi and pond. The construction uses compressed earth bricks stabilized with 8% portland cement for the main house and poured earth for outbuildings. The purposely blind facade incorporates opaque glass for privacy and allows visitors once inside to discover the interior and back exterior panorama.

The back of the house takes advantage of a north facing window wall, maximizing views of the pond, pool and jaccuzi as well as the existing landscape of tropical trees and vegetation on the property. This living area provides a connection to nature and offers the owner a private oasis.

We created a seamless interior-exterior transition to maximize light and natural views. Each room features glass walls which open to a unique secluded landscape. While the public gathering spaces rely on open volume, the two bedroom suites have been scaled down to bring a more intimate ambiance.

The open floor plan relies on volume and simplistic spaces with an unobstructed flow. The intentional16″ high dropped ceilings allow for natural air ventilation and insulation in addition to a dramatic perspective.

Both the swimming pool and jacuzzi are naturally filtered by an adjacent aquatic plant zone, eliminating the need for chemical additives. The large surface area offers a cooling micro-climate.

Our objective was to create an ecological living experience according to the client’s needs that reflects the input, creativity and talents of each participant while also respecting local resources and customs. We strive to create beauty through informed design for thoughtful living.


  • Participating Architects: Richard Rowland, Hippolyte Gilabert, Clement Dagneaux
  • Area: 350.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Régis L’hostis
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