sandbag houses, cape town, south africa

In 2007, Luyanda Mpahlwa of MMA Architects was one of ten architects challenged by Design Indaba to build experimental homes on the government subsidy budget of $6,900 in Freedom Park, a shantytown on the outskirts of Cape Town.

Mphahlwa replaced traditional brick and mortar foundations with a less costly two-story structural frame made from timber combined with sandbag construction as fill for the walls. In addition to its thermal and sound-absorbing properties, the sandbag construction also requires little to no electricity or skilled labor to erect. Building of the house turned into a community project, with local women pitching in. For more, go to the Curry Stone Design Prize website.

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