It's safe to say there is no shortage of sunlight in the Egyptian desert. While a desert is often seen as a hostile living environment, a village situated around the Bahariya Oasis is demonstrating the contrary. The so-called Tayebat Workers Village is powered by building-integrated solar panels and provides shelter for 350 people, putting sunlight to better use.
The village serves as the campus for solar technology company KarmBuild, which reportedly is "the only company in Egypt to integrate solar technology into a building's design". The small town was built with 90 percent local natural materials, including sandstone which was used to construct the buildings.
According to architect Karim Kafrawi, in Egypt solar panels are often regarded as unappealing, and “not practical in architecture integration”. KarmBuild’s innovative methods could revert those unfavorable views. Moreover, the solar panels act as "thermal roof protection", according to Kafrawi.
"The idea was to create an architectural character that would smoothly blend into the natural landscape so that from a distance, this rather large building would be discreet, almost invisible expect for the towering stone structures highlighted by the P.V. solar panels reflecting the sky and sun" he said.
The choice of a construction technique that helps reduce waste also brings down the costs. The Tayebat Workers Village project is not only a great step towards providing shelter, but it also contributes to sustainable living situations for the inhabitants of the desert.