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10x10 Housing Initiative

Building Occupancy / Site Capacity: 

Project Name: 10x10 Housing Initiative
>> Re-visualizing low income housing for a shanty town using simple mud-and-wattle building techniques which is highly energy efficient and can be built without skilled labour. <<

Project Type:

Project Mission/Goal:
address humanitarian crises

Project Description:
A South African architectural firm whose ingenious, yet simple design re-envisions low-income housing for a Cape Town shantytown, was named the winner of the inaugural Curry Stone Design Prize at the IdeaFestival in Louisville, Ky. on Sept. 25, 2008.

MMA Architects' principals, Luyanda Mpahlwa and Mphethi Morojele received the $100,000 prize, administered by the University of Kentucky College of Design. The prize is given annually to breakthrough design solutions with the power and potential to improve our lives and the world we live in.

Jurors singled out MMA's design for a single-family home, which leveraged a modest budget - equivalent to $6,900 - by borrowing elements from indigenous mud-and-wattle building techniques. Their two-story frame, made from timber and sandbag infill construction, is both energy efficient and requires little to no electricity or skilled labor to construct. MMA will complete 10 such houses by the end of the year.

Jurors commended MMA for creating an easily scalable prototype that can be built with unskilled labor from the local community: "The designers understand that the process facilitates people making these projects."

The South African based design organization Design Indaba developed the housing project to build 10 pilot homes within a squatter area on the outskirts of Capetown. Once built the plans will subsequently be compiled into a manual to be donated to African governments, who will be able to use them royalty-free under the Creative Commons Developing Nations License.

Profile by Fenton Communications, New York

Links and Captions:


The 10x10 housing project from Design Indaba on Vimeo.

Project Details: (Per project detail form)
LOCATION: Mitchells Plains, Cape Town, South Africa
DATE: 2007–9
IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Design Indaba 10x10 Housing Project
CLIENT: Design Indaba/Interactive Africa, Cape Town
END USER: 10 families, Freedom Park community
FIRST BENEFICIARY: Hans Jonker–House completed in 2008
DESIGN TEAM: Luyanda Mpahlwa, Uli Mpahlwa, Sushma Patel, Kirsty Ronne
CONTRACT MANAGEMENT: Chinedum Emeruem, Westley Van Wyk
CONTRACTOR: Tech Homes–Schalk Van Der Welt
MATERIAL SUPPLIER Ecobeams and sandbags: Mike Trenmere, ECOBUILD Technologies
FUNDER: Design Indaba Trust
SPONSORS: DesignSpaceAfrica, Pg Bison/Penny Pinchers
CONSULTANTS: Henry Herring, AKi (structural engineer); Brian Mahachi, BTKM (Quantity surveyors)
COST PER UNIT: 80000 South African rand/$10170 USD
AREA: 54 sq m/581 sq ft
OCCUPANCY: 5–6 people


Cape Town, Western Cape
South Africa


Competition Category Entered

Competition Details

The competition entry ID for this project is 6295.

Project Details

NAME: 10x10 Housing Initiative
PROJECT LEAD: Luyanda Mpahlwa
LOCATION: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
START DATE: January 07, 2007
CURRENT PHASE: Construction complete
COST: $10170 USD (Unspecified)
SIZE: 54 sq. m
PROJECT TYPE: Residential - Single Family
IMPLEMENTING PARTNER: Design Indaba 10x10 Housing Project
FUNDING: Design Indaba Trust
MATERIALS: Ecobeams and sandbags: Mike Trenmere, ECOBUILD Technoligies
CONTRACTOR(S): Tech Homes-Schalk Van Der Wyk
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT: Chinedum Emeruem, Westley Van Wyk
DESIGN TEAM: Luyanda Mpahlwa, Uli Mpahlwa, Sushma Patel, Kirsty Ronne
END USER/OCCUPANT: 10 families in the Freedom Park community
CLIENT: Design Indaba/Interactive Africa, Cape Town
SPONSORING ORGANIZATION: DesignSpaceAfrica; PG Bison/Penny Pinchers


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