The Department of Human Settlements at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts' School of Architecture, Design, and Conservation has developed a new low-income housing prototype for Maputo, Mozambique in southeast Africa as part of the Casas Melhoradas research project. The prototype reinterprets the area’s traditional “Casa de Madeira e Zinco,” which is made of wood and corrugated iron sheets, and the "Casa de Blocos," which is composed of concrete blocks.
The design features “a heavy first floor concrete base with a light two-storey wooden house on top,” with outdoor balconies that provide “a social transition zone between inside and out.” In addition, the prototype utilized local sustainable wood as well as local carpenters and craftsmen to construct and assemble the prefabricated elements.
The Casas Melhoradas research project seeks to improve physical living conditions for low-income groups in slum areas “characterized by housing of poor structural quality, inadequate access to social and technical infrastructure, overcrowding, and insecure tenure.” Through affordable rental housing, the hope of the project is to “facilitate the development of more compact urban environments,” and make “future infrastructure investments more cost-effective.”
Thus, the project hopes to counter Maputo’s rapid horizontal growth, which has led to unplanned urban developments and limited infrastructure like paved streets, sewage, electricity, and storm water management.
The Royal Danish Academy is collaborating with several groups for the project, including the Faculdade de Arquitectura e Planeamento Físico at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, The Mozambican NGO Estamos, and the Danish branch of Architects without Borders.
The first housing prototypes were released from 2014 to 2015, and are currently featured at the Africa exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The project aims to develop additional prototypes during 2016. Learn more about the project here.
Architects: Jørgen Eskemose and Johan Mottelson, Department of Human Settlements, Institute of Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Design, and Conservation
Location: Maxaquene, Maputo, Mozambique
Area: 55 m2
Project year: 2015
Photo credits: Johan Mottelson
News via The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.