Episode 10: How BuildX Studio is Creating Dignified Circular Affordable Across Kenya | Urban Limitrophe Podcast | #DignifiedHousing #DignifiedAffordableHousing #CircularHousing #Nairobi #Podcast

In this episode, I speak with Carolina Larrazábal, the co-founder and design director at BuildX Studio. BuildX Studio is an innovative award-winning architectural studio based in Nairobi, which is the first architecture, engineering or construction company in Africa to become B Corp™ certified. The team at BuildX Studio is on a mission to build radically better buildings. In our conversation, Carolina explains how her team is building dignified circular affordable housing in Kenya and how through their partnerships (i.e. with their sister branch BuildHer) and design process, their work embeds equity, diversity and sustainability in every stage of the development process.

In this episode, you'll learn about:

  • what is dignified affordable housing and what considerations go into creating it,
  • Mass timber/Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and why BuildX thinks that it is the future of building materials in this region and beyond,
  • BuildX's Circular Cooperative Affordable Housing Project,
  • BuildX's efforts to build 10,000 affordable homes by 2030,
  • how BuildX hopes that their affordable homes will provide a pathway to homeownership for low-income sectors of the population,
  • and much more!

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This episode is co-sponsored by the University of Toronto School of Cities and the Department of Geography and Planning. 

The School of Cities "convenes urban-focused researchers, educators, students, practitioners and the general public to explore and address complex urban challenges, with the aim of making cities and urban regions more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and just". To learn more about the School of Cities visit www.schoolofcities.utoronto.ca

To learn more about the Department of Geography and Planning and the different undergraduate and graduate programs available please visit www.geography.utoronto.ca.

Guest: Carolina Larrazábal 

Carolina co-founded BuildX Studio in 2016. Since then, she grew a team of 3 people to 30 in less than 3 years and led BuildX Studio to international recognition, including accreditation as the first architecture and construction B Corporation in Africa and becoming a Curry Stone Design Prize Social Design Circle member in 2017. She leads BuildX's design and innovation developments.


  • 04:23 | Introduction to Carolina and BuildX Studio
  • 05:03 | What inspired Carolina and her co-founder to start BuildX Studio?
  • 07:20 | What is BuildX Studio's Circular Cooperative Affordable Housing Project?
  • 12:04 | What are the principles of circular design and how they are integrated into this project
  • 14:11 | The challenges that they have faced in trying to realize this project
  • 16:17 | Past strategies they have used to get community buy-in for their various projects
  • 20:10 | What is dignified affordable housing and what are the characteristics they consider for this project?
  • 24:53 | How BuildX Studio is planning to build 10,000 affordable homes across Kenya by 2030
  • 31:00 | What kind of support or partnerships should cities/governments provide organizations like BuildX to help expand projects similar to theirs?
  • 35:24 | An explanation of BuildX's design-build model and their work with their sister organization, BuildHer
  • 41:38 | What's next for BuildX Studio?
  • 43:26 | How can people get involved in the expansion of their various initiatives?

Show Notes

Want to learn more? Check out this episode's references!

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [OHCHR]. (n.d.) Fact Sheet No.21: The Right to Adequate Housing. Retrieved from https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FS21_rev_1_Housing_en.pdf

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [OHCHR]. (n.d.). The human right to adequate housing. Retrieved from https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Housing/Pages/AboutHRandHousing.aspx

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Episode 10: How BuildX Studio is Creating Dignified Circular Affordable Across Kenya | Urban Limitrophe Podcast | #DignifiedHousing #DignifiedAffordableHousing #CircularHousing #Nairobi #Podcast
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