Mud huts are normally associated with the most basic level of just-scraping-by living: utilitarian, cheap, but hardly the height of design (or even comfort). The Nka Foundation wondered what would happen if the mud hut was modernised: same basic materials, same low cost, but 21st century techniques.

The result was a competition for young grads and students, in which the aim was to design a $6,000 single-family dwelling, on a 3600 square foot plot, making the most use of earth and local labor.

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Three designs won out, with first prize going to a gorgeous, space-maximising design that looks inspired by Viking longhouses, if you ask me. Moving forward, the Nka Foundation is hoping to prototype all three winning designs in Ghana, in the space of about 10 weeks.

It's not the first time the Nka Foundation has run a design competition: the last attempt was a smaller-scale competition, to build a 10 foot x 10 foot 'learning shelter' out of mud. [Arch Daily]

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