Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sand-bag Architects win top prize!

South African architects MMA have been awarded the inaugural Curry Stone Design prize of $100,000 for their ingenious solution to the Design Indaba 10x10 low-cost housing challenge.  established this year by the university of Kentucky College of Design through a very generous gift from architect Clifford Curry and his wife H. Delight Stone.  The prize recognises breakthrough design solutions with the power and potential to improve our lives and the world we live in.  The 10x10 housing project initiated by Design Indaba paired 10 teams of South African architects with international designers to pioneer new affordable housing systems.   The objective of the competition was to come up with affordable, attractive, innovative responses to the urgent need for housing the urban poor.  

MMA were awarded the Curry Stone Design prize for their pioneering design and innovative pilot project to build 10 affordable houses using a sand-bag construction system.  

Thanks to The Architects Newspaper for posting this great story with beautiful images and a great interview with the architects. 

Luyanda Mpahlwa, who shares the firm with Mpethi Morojele, s
aid that a key component of the house was to provide not only shelter but also social justice and pride.  The house was originally a house for 50,000 rand ($6,200), which required some unusual thinking.  In addition to utilizing inexpensive and locally accessible building materials, which required not even a single electrical outlet to put together, the designers turned to the community to build the houses.  Mpahlwa said that this approach saved not only the cost of labor but gave the community an added sense of ownership and provided work for the community riven with unemployment.   

It is great to hear that Mpahlwa is planning to use his prize money to build more 10x10 houses and sponsor underprivileged kids to attend architecture school.  These architects are fabulous inspiration!! 


Kirstin said...

This is so cool! Sand bags.... great idea!

harriet said...

love it! ingenious.