The Johannesburg-based design firm Architecture for a Change recently completed their second prototype for the Mamelodi Pod, a design solution to the South African township’s sprawling sea of makeshift shantytowns. The tiny house features an off-the-grid design powered by solar panels, a 1,000 liter water tank to harvest rainwater, and an overhang to provide shade from the intense sun. The prefabricated structure would need a minimum of just three people to build and can be erected in less than a day’s work.
A rapidly increasing portion of South Africa’s population lives in shantytowns that lack access to water, electricity and basic plumbing. Mamelodi is one of the oldest townships in Pretoria that was set up by a then-apartheid government and is home to an enormous informal settlement. Its growing squatter camp is a sprawling sea of ramshackle dwellings that face a slew of health and environmental issues.
To address these problems, AFAC designed a superior and self-sustainable housing unit with an aesthetic to fit Mamelodi’s informal context. With the thermal performance of formal houses, Pod’s prefabricated 220-mm composite wall panels are comprised of galvanized zinc sheets, a layer of Sisalation (a highly reflective foil material), Isotherm thermal insulation and internal plywood panels.
A rooftop solar panel charges a battery unit that powers internal and external lighting and the 1000L water-holding tank is a luxury in an area where water is scarce. Two sets of bunk beds can fit inside each unit. The prototype is also equipped with an outdoor parabolic solar cooker and elevated off the ground to prevent flooding.
Currently, the Pod prototype costs approximately US$4,500 to complete, putting the structure out of the price range for many Mamelodi residents. As the AFAC team continues to refine the design, however, hopes are that mass production could lead to more affordable prices.
Via Arch Daily
Images via Architecture for A Change