In response to the 2,700 slums spread across South Africa, design strategy collective Urban-Think Tank has joined forces with ETH Zürich university to create a new, prototypical house that could improve conditions for the whopping 15% of the country's population who are currently living in the slums—often without any electricity or access to clean water. The team—who call the project the Empower Shack—set up shop in the township of Khayelitsha in Cape Town, South Africa, and designed an extremely low-cost, two-story dwelling for a local man and his family—complete with a watertight exterior, working electricity, and increased space. The prototype is made from a prefab timber frame and corrugated metal siding, and is simple enough to be altered with each replication, depending on the size and needs of the family.
Ultimately, the end goal for Urban-Think Tank and the rest of the team is to create a more formally planned framework for these self-made slums, with each home allotted a certain amount of space. An organized neighborhood could improve circulation, make space for emergency vehicles, and make services like widespread sanitation and water more feasible. Really, it's quite a worthy project to add the to the wonderfully long list of architects wielding their skills for the good of those in need. Dezeen has more details, plus a video about the cause, right this way.
· Urban-Think Tank develops housing prototype for South African slums [Dezeen]
· Urban Think Tank introduces the Empower Shack to the slums of Western Cape [Design Boom]
· All Good Causes posts [Curbed National]