Thursday, September 25, 2008

Press Release: Design Indaba 10x10 solution wins $100 000 humanitarian design prize

MMA Architects’ principals, Luyanda Mpahlwa and Mphethi Morojele, have won the inaugural Curry Stone Design Prize of $100 000 for their ingenious solution to the Design Indaba 10x10 low-cost housing challenge. The annual international prize recognises breakthrough design solutions with the power and potential to improve our lives and the world we live in.

Design Indaba’s 10x10 Housing Project 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 the urban poor. Sustainable design, construction and operation principles were to be incorporated.

The first solution to the Design Indaba 10x10 challenge, MMA’s design for a single-family home leveraged a modest budget by borrowing elements from indigenous mud-and-wattle building techniques. The design forgoes traditional brick-and-mortar foundations in favour of a two-storey frame of timber and sandbag infill construction, which is both energy-efficient and requires little to no electricity or skilled labour to construct.

Design Indaba will oversee the completion of 10 such houses in Freedom Park, a township in Greater Cape Town, with volunteer help from local women in the community.