Start Somewhere TwistBlocks.
Start Somewhere is a social enterprise focused on bringing change to the affordable housing sector of the Global South. Our high-performance Twistblocks approach this with rapid construction times and the economic use of materials.
Easiness - building houses has never been that simple
TwistBlocks offer easiness in every step leading to a finished project. The TwistBlocks themselves are light weight, which eases the transportation effort. The plug-in principle not only offers complete flexibility in size and form, it is also easy to learn how to build a house with TwistBlocks.
Professionality - sophisticated, attractive and modern design
The TwistBlocks building technique presents opportunities for outstanding design with the possibility to build round walls. These unique houses perfectly fit into every environment and provide a feeling of comfort by satisfying a huge range of specific needs – entirely without mortar and plaster.
The Start Somewhere TwistBlocks offer many advantages compared to standard masonry construction without being more expensive. Due to the clean finish there is no need for plastering.
A combination of functionality and design.
Curved walls allow a maximum use of plot with multi-storey capability combined with asthetic and clean walls.
Flexibility - build, dismantle, reuse - everywhere
Changing circumstances can be easily addressed by the flexibilty of TwistBlocks. Dismantling, reusing and expanding are key features to fulfill a wide range of specific needs.
Outstanding design - modern elegance in every environment
The building technique offers the possibility of building round walls, so the building can meet almost every requirement.
Functionality - tangible benefits at lower costs
The TwistBlocks high-tech functionality includes fire safety, isolation and temperature management at lower costs than regular houses.
includes construction especially in informal housing environments and slums
The construction method has proven to work.
Start Somewhere’s pilot project – the construction of a school building for 400 children inside Kibera Slum, Nairobi – was realized in 2020 during COVID-19 crisis within the given framework both technically and financially. It was planned and coordianted remotely from Germany and built by residents of Kibera under guidance of Start Somewhere’s local project manager Lazarus Asewe.
2 story school building Kibera
Pilot Project in cooperation with PERI and DEG
Change from inside
You always have to start somewhere.
We identified two major challenges in the global south. The first challenge is people living in informal housing environments. This comes with the lack of jobs, unsafe and unhealthy homes and no secure land tenure. The second challenge is faced by humanitarian organizations. These organizations are in need of building schools and hospitals which require a certain safety standard – fast and with controlled costs.
With TwistBlocks we tackle the two presented challenges. Our sustainable train-the-trainer concept creates know-how and jobs within slum areas. We enable local private home ownership as blocks can be dismantled and reused. The TwistBlocks are designed to provide safe and durable housing, adjustable to every environment – in a quick, easy and affordable way.
How to improve the situation in slums
Head over to https://www.startsomewhere.eu/donate/ to support two schools in the Kibera Slum in Nairobi with a donation.
To find out more about our building method, there are 3 videos on our website at https://www.startsomewhere.eu/en/new-construction-system/
The price per m² finished wall including columns, ring beam, etc. is about 1950 KES (price per block 125 KES) which is cheaper than 1 m² standard plastered masonry wall (2600 KES per m² finished wall). We save costs in the construction of the wall due to the high construction speed, as our walls do not require mortar or formwork. If necessary, 80% of the blocks can be dismantled and reused.
- No mortar needed because of the interlocking system (Loads of mortar).
- No formwork for for columns and ring beam (Formwork for columns and ring beam).
- Unskilled labour (skilled labour).
- One day construction time for full height (4 days for full height).
- Clean finish, no need for plaster (Rough finish, need for plaster).
- Electrical fixtures and sanitation easy to install inside hollow walls ( Cutting of slots and plastering for electrical fixtures and sanitation).
- Round walls can be done easily.
- 90% of the blocks can be reused and dismantled.
It certainly is our goal to upscale this project and that the technology benefits as many people as possible. Right now, we are still in the early phase. The moulds have not yet been mass produced, so currently we only have the moulds in our workshop in Kibera. We are currently looking for funds to make this mass production of molds possible. For that we need to build an injection mould which is very costly. But hopes are good that within 6 months to 1 year the moulds will be available on the market and can be sold.
We certainly want to bring this technology to other countries one day. But at the moment it is still very new. The first time we can see it in the world now is in Kenya. So by now we only have very few moulds to produce these blocks.
We are still in the middle of convincing a big partner from industry, PERI formwork and scaffolding, to start mass production of moulds. You can help if you find people who actually want to realize projects with our technology and they send a request to us. It will make it obvious that people want to build with our technology and are ready to buy these blocks. Then PERI will produce more moulds for us and we can bring them to other countries.
The mixing ratio has to be defined based on the quality of aggregates. But generally speaking it consists of class 42.5 cement, river sand, fine aggregates, coarse aggregates and water. In order to produce the blocks a vibrating table is needed and an electric or diesel powered concrete mixer is helpful.