Open navigation

Thomas Granier

In 1998, Seri Youlou, a farmer from Burkina Faso and Thomas Granier, a French mason, tried to build a Nubian vault in Burkina Faso during the PIAMET (a local exhibition of traditionnal arts). After a series of technical trials, a streamlined method was developed, “the Nubian Vault technical concept" , and adapted to the weather conditions and traditional know-how of the Sahel, while being easy to implement and ready to be adopted on a large scale. They created the Nubian Vault Association (AVN) in 2000 with the ambition to develop a market for adapted housing in West Africa while tackling issues such as housing, professional training, economics, environment and climate change.

Visit their website
Association la Voûte Nubienne (AVN)
Contact via
Hybrid Social Enterprise
Engineering and Construction; Climate Crisis; Future of Work
Areas of Impact
Europe, Africa, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali

Association la Voûte Nubienne (AVN)

Nubian Vault Association (AVN) has been working with its local partners in various areas since 2000 to disseminate the Nubian vault concept in order to spread this technique locally and to support the local economic development of the population. AVN is involved as a market facilitator. It is not a construction company, nor does it finance the construction of private buildings: artisans are paid directly by their clients and they manage their building sites and their relationships with their clients on their own. Costs are kept low due to the availability of the base material (raw earth).

To support the Nubian vault offer, AVN builds awareness of the Nubian vault concept among the population, offers organizational support during construction projects, reinforces technical and entrepreneurial training, supports Nubian vault masons to become independent entrepreneurs, and works with established builders and businesses to integrate the Nubian vault concept in their offers. AVN's role is to allow, accelerate and control the transmission of skills and knowledge from mason to apprentice. In order to do this, AVN organizes congresses and academies proposing specific training modules and to capitalize on masons' experience.

AVN’s objective is to provide the population with access to decent and affordable housing and to a job with prospects, in order to improve their living and economic conditions. To do so, AVN disseminates the Nubian vault technique and supports the progressive establishment of an autonomous Nubian vault market through three integrated concepts: A Roof, A Skill, A Market. A Roof: A network of qualified masons and informed clients spread the Nubian vault concept in the territory. This method creates demand for the building of Nubian vault structures in the private sector and in the institutional sector, and the onsite training of Nubian vault masons on these construction sites. A Skill: AVN supports the reinforcement of know-how among housing sector professionals through technical and entrepreneurial training, project management support, technical research and knowledge capitalization. A Market: AVN supports the growth of the housing sector through the establishment of specific financial products and support to institutional actors.


Our awardees