Luyanda Mpahlwa
Add
Like
Comment
Share

In September 2007, Luyanda Mpahlwa, principal of MMA Architects, designed a two-story house with these factors in mind for Design Indaba’s 10x10 Low-Cost Housing Project. The program tasked ten building teams to create attractive, affordable housing schemes using innovative solutions. In the end, ten of Mpahlwa’s designs were built.

Before building the framework of the house with pine timber and galvanized metal, the workers piled sandbags on the ground to map out the home’s foundation. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Before building the framework of the house with pine timber and galvanized metal, the workers piled sandbags on the ground to map out the home’s foundation. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Mpahlwa took inspiration from the vernacular architecture of his youth in a rural part of the Eastern Cape, where people built homes from mud, water, and timber, to transform what is generally considered a nuisance—the abundance of sand—into an invaluable resource for holding down a house. Unskilled laborers packed bags full of sand and piled them between pieces of pine timber and galvanized metal
to create and fill the frames.

In September 2007, Luyanda Mpahlwa, principal of MMA Architects, designed a two-story house with these factors in mind for Design Indaba’s 10x10 Low-Cost Housing Project. The program tasked teams to create attractive, affordable housing schemes using innovative solutions. Pictured here is the Cape Town township before Mpahlwa’s sand-based buildings were constructed. <br><br>Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

In September 2007, Luyanda Mpahlwa, principal of MMA Architects, designed a two-story house with these factors in mind for Design Indaba’s 10x10 Low-Cost Housing Project. The program tasked teams to create attractive, affordable housing schemes using innovative solutions. Pictured here is the Cape Town township before Mpahlwa’s sand-based buildings were constructed.

Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

They plastered wire mesh on the exteriors, giving the buildings as solid and finished a look as those constructed of bricks or concrete. Though the design itself was a success, the lack of economies of scale made it a challenge to keep the construction costs low. About 1,000 homes would have needed to be built to keep the price tag at the original budget of $6,175 per house. Instead the costs came in at over $10,000.

Mpahlwa took inspiration from the vernacular architecture of his youth in a rural part of the Eastern Cape, where people built homes from mud, water, and timber, to transform what is generally considered a nuisance—the abundance of sand—into an invaluable resource for holding down a house. Members of the community, seen here, gathered together to pack bags full of sand. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Mpahlwa took inspiration from the vernacular architecture of his youth in a rural part of the Eastern Cape, where people built homes from mud, water, and timber, to transform what is generally considered a nuisance—the abundance of sand—into an invaluable resource for holding down a house. Members of the community, seen here, gathered together to pack bags full of sand. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Artist Hans Jonkers, who previously lived in a shack with his wife, Olga, and six children, was initially wary of calling a house built of sand home. But once he understood the new building system, he was more than happy to move in through the cherry-red front door. Concrete, which is often made using sand as an aggregate, isn’t about to lose its status in South Africa any time soon, but for these first-time homeowners, sand in any other form is just as sweet.

Once the frame of the house was constructed, the townspeople filled the wall space with sandbags. Here, Olga Jonkers uses a handmade tool to compact the bags that will become the walls of her future home. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Once the frame of the house was constructed, the townspeople filled the wall space with sandbags. Here, Olga Jonkers uses a handmade tool to compact the bags that will become the walls of her future home. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

To see more images of Mpahlwa’s sand-built homes under construction, view our slideshow. 

After the walls of the first-floor frames were filled tightly with sandbags, the workers plastered wire mesh onto the exterior. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

After the walls of the first-floor frames were filled tightly with sandbags, the workers plastered wire mesh onto the exterior. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Packing sandbags into the top storey of the Jonkers' house.

Though the design itself was a success, the lack of economies of scale made it a challenge to keep the construction costs low. About 1,000 homes would have needed to be built to keep the price tag at the original budget of $6,175 per house. Instead the costs came in at over $10,000. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Though the design itself was a success, the lack of economies of scale made it a challenge to keep the construction costs low. About 1,000 homes would have needed to be built to keep the price tag at the original budget of $6,175 per house. Instead the costs came in at over $10,000. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Here, Mpahlwa stands in front of a half-completed house. “We should be working toward ensuring that projects like these are not once off, but sustained,” he says. “If you believe in an idea, give it your all. That means give it time, have a passion for it. Have the curiosity to find out what is happening in the world around you." Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Artist Hans Jonkers, who previously lived in a shack with his wife, Olga, and six children, was initially wary of calling a house built of sand home. But once he understood the new building system, he was more than happy to move in through the cherry-red front door. Concrete, which is often made using sand as an aggregate, isn’t about to lose its status in South Africa any time soon, but for these first-time homeowners, sand in any other form is just as sweet. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Artist Hans Jonkers, who previously lived in a shack with his wife, Olga, and six children, was initially wary of calling a house built of sand home. But once he understood the new building system, he was more than happy to move in through the cherry-red front door. Concrete, which is often made using sand as an aggregate, isn’t about to lose its status in South Africa any time soon, but for these first-time homeowners, sand in any other form is just as sweet. Image courtesy Interactive Africa/ Design Indaba

Comments
Dwell Life © 2016Download our iOS App

We’re inviting you to join us to create a place where we can inspire and share with each other every day, collaborate on collections, projects and stories, ask questions, discuss and debate ideas.

Log in