Design

Published on October 2nd, 2008 | by Philip Proefrock

10

Prizewinning Affordable Housing

under construction (left) and completed (right) The contemporary looking building pictured here is not a high-end green building full of high tech features. Rather, it is a prizewinning affordable housing design for South Africa that costs significantly less than a new car. This is a house designed to provide affordable housing for very little cost: 50,000 South African rand (which is about US$ 6,000). And there are a lot of things to like about this design.

Housing for a cost of $6,000 ought to win some kind of prize.

And rightly so, MMA Architects of South Africa won the Curry Stone Design Prize of $100,000 for the 10×10 House, which can be built using local materials and with very few tools and unskilled labor. The structure of the house is stacked sandbags which are supported by timber framing. The design is intended to be a response to the problem of shantytowns, where growing numbers of people are living in unsafe and substandard conditions.

Here is a system that not only provides very low-cost housing, but does so in a way that engages the community and provides them with a sense of investment and participation in the process.

In addition to utilizing inexpensive and locally accessible building materials, which required not even a single electrical outlet to put together, the designers turned to the community to build the houses, the first of which was recently completed, with nine more planned for a community in Cape Town. Mpahlwa said that this approach not only saves on labor costs but gives an added sense of ownership to the occupants and work for those in a community that is riven with unemployment.

The simple construction does not require advanced construction knowledge. Prizewinner Luyanda Mpahlwa said he would probably use the prize money to build a few more 10×10 Houses, and to send a few underprivileged kids to architecture school.

Related articles on Green Building Elements:
Weighing the Value of Concrete Housing
Are Extruded Houses Green?
Shaver Green Building to Offer Sustainable Workforce Housing

via (and with more images of the 10×10 House): Architect’s Newspaper




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  • http://www.greenscollar.com Mark

    Very cool. Although, two stories on a sandbag house assembled by people that don’t know what they’re doing?

    Just the first thing that popped in my head. Along with those model cars in the picture above bringing me back to ’78.

  • http://www.greenscollar.com Mark

    Very cool. Although, two stories on a sandbag house assembled by people that don’t know what they’re doing?

    Just the first thing that popped in my head. Along with those model cars in the picture above bringing me back to ’78.

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  • Ben

    Pity the banks in South Africa do not bond /morgage this construction system. Has this been overcome?

  • Ben

    Pity the banks in South Africa do not bond /morgage this construction system. Has this been overcome?

  • EDi

    Nope, tried doing my own house with this system, even got the plans approved from local council which was a extremely long process on it own. The problem is the NHBRC, or the National Home Building Registration Council. Banks don’t give bonds to projects not registered with the NHBRC.

    I did a lot of research in this method and like it a lot – especial the insulation it provides. The suppliers actually state that unless it is for low cost housing there will not be any savings and might even cost more than conventional building.

    The savings they claim is not in the material costs, (unless you excavate and are using sand from the local site) but in the actual construction and construction time, meaning you will have to build it your self, and again the banks will not fund a owner-builder project.

  • EDi

    Nope, tried doing my own house with this system, even got the plans approved from local council which was a extremely long process on it own. The problem is the NHBRC, or the National Home Building Registration Council. Banks don’t give bonds to projects not registered with the NHBRC.

    I did a lot of research in this method and like it a lot – especial the insulation it provides. The suppliers actually state that unless it is for low cost housing there will not be any savings and might even cost more than conventional building.

    The savings they claim is not in the material costs, (unless you excavate and are using sand from the local site) but in the actual construction and construction time, meaning you will have to build it your self, and again the banks will not fund a owner-builder project.

  • Pingback: Inhabitat » Affordable and still Green: Sandbag Houses by MMA Architects

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