Monday, August 11, 2008

The 10x10 Housing Project, in a nutshell

Mr & Mrs Jonkers and one of their six children outside their new home.
(Photo: Rosemary Lombard)

Low-cost housing is an issue of huge social relevance globally: over 50% of the world's population now resides in urban areas. The impact of this is particularly visible in the urban sprawl of informal settlements around South Africa's cities. A number of national housing initiatives have been given a high profile by South Africa's Minister of Housing, Lindiwe Sisulu. The Minister has also communicated the government's encouragement to developers, financial institutions and the construction industry to deliver on the visions and goals of the National Housing Policy. However, the non-involvement of architects and urban planning professionals in the housing delivery process has led to the neglect of urban quality of life.

Initiated by
Design Indaba, the 10x10 Housing Project’s aim falls in line with the organisation’s fundamental mission to “create a better future, by design”. The overarching aim of this project is to stimulate wider debate and creative engagement around the delivery of sustainable low-cost housing, while simultaneously benefiting some of Cape Town's most impoverished families directly.

Design Indaba challenged 10 architectural teams, composed of handpicked South Africans paired with international alumni of previous Design Indaba conferences, to provide dynamic design solutions for the low cost housing sector on a completely pro bono basis. The objective was to come up with affordable, attractive, innovative responses to the urgent need for housing for the urban poor. Sustainable design, construction and operation principles were to be incorporated.

The first qualifying solution to the Design Indaba 10x10 challenge came from MMA Architects, and 10 of this design are currently being built for families in Freedom Park, a township in Greater Cape Town, with partial sponsorship by PG Bison/Pennypinchers and help from local women in the community. The first Design Indaba 10x10 house nearing completion.
(Photo: Rosemary Lombard)

Experiences and outputs are to be compiled and ultimately presented as open source material, disseminated online and handed to the South African Ministry of Housing. In this way, the 10x10 Project seeks to contribute to the global pool of knowledge available to anybody interested in the design or construction of low-cost housing.

Check out this blog for photos and regular updates on progress.

Olga Jonkers, recipient of the first 10x10 House, discussing the finishing touches to her house with Nadya Glawe, outgoing Design Indaba 10x10 project manager, June 2008.
(Photos: Rosemary Lombard)