The Indlovu Centre is a new community project in Monwabisi Park Khayelitsha, Cape Province, South Africa that provides space for a Montessori pre-school, a medical clinic, a youth centre, a guest house, a community learning centre, a laundry, a soup kitchen and a vegetable growing initiative. The original property was destroyed in a fire in 2008, after which a new development was organized by the Shaster Foundation, the Planter Wheeler Foundation and Architects Without Frontiers. The project was designed and built by Zvi Belling of ITN Architects and Lani Fender. To meet the needs of the community, the new center has all the amenities of the old one, but it is built from sandbags and the low-tech Ecobeam structural system so it is totally fireproof and bulletproof.
Reconstruction of the Indluvo Centre began in 2009 when Architects Without Frontiers went to assess the community’s needs. They worked with Zvi Belling and Lani Fender to design the project pro-bono to ensure the community had the facility they needed. The project consists of two, two-story buildings to house learning centre, clinic, soup kitchen, neighbourhood lookout, administration facilities and guest house. In addition, the new facility also needed to be built by local inhabitants and be fire-proof and bullet proof.
To meet the needs of the community, the design team settled on using the low-tech sandbag and Ecobeam truss system. This way, they could hire unskilled local workers and utilize locally sourced sand. Ecobeam’s prefab truss system is simple to assemble and the sandbags serve as sturdy walls that provide excellent thermal mass and insulation. The exterior is covered with wire and plaster and was painted in bright colors. The project was recently completed and actress Halle Berry celebrated at its opening.
Images ©Zvi Belling