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Kenyan Design Studio Named Grand-Prix Winner of the 2020 Lexus Design Award

BellTower received the prestigious award for its innovative clean-water collection and storage unit. It marks the first time a design team from Africa has won the award in its eight year history. BellTower’s design, called Open Source Communities, addresses a common challenge in developing countries—devising a structure that can collect and store clean drinking water. Open Source Communities tackles and solves that challenge. The Open Source Communities unit is constructed using bamboo and recycled plastic composites, which are less expensive than standard materials. A prefabricated model costs about $10,000 and can be assembled by five trained workers in 10 days. Each 46-square-foot unit has space for both water collection tanks and a resource room for training. An adjustable roof panel provides cooling, ventilation, and natural light. The structure’s slanted design maximizes its ability to collect rainwater. According to Kamau, a 30-minute rain shower can provide more than 2,600 gallons of water.