Recent Projects

Experimental House, Phase 9 Mangaung: The construction of a dwelling made from environmentally-friendly 'cement'

This project has been administered since 2014 by Hein Raubenheimer, who deals with Ms Mohatlane on an architect-to-client basis. Ms Mohatlane obtained a vacant stand in Phase 9, Mangaung, Bloemfontein. Like all low-income families in that area, she is in need of a permanent dwelling. As part of a service-learning initiative, the proposed study will provide her with a more permanent solution than the familiar corrugated iron shed, which has become synonymous with informal settlements in South Africa.

Architecture students are involved throughout the project at various stages of the construction. By incorporating this project with the construction modules, first- to third-year students will be offered a chance to develop their skills, whilst serving a valued member of the community. There is also strong collaboration with the Chemistry Department, where Dr E Erasmus will be involved with the development of a more environmentally-friendly and more cost-effective cementitious material.

Thuba Makote – Schools as Centres for Community Development, Kuruman district, Northern Cape

This project was administered by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). It had a turnover of R190 000 for the Department of Architecture to facilitate training of a community group in the use of compressed-earth blocks. The UEC also established a permanent brickyard and provided technical assistance to the professional site team. Training started in March 2003, and the buildings were officially opened on 25 March 2004.

Gariep Dam Crafts Centre, Southern Free State

This project was commissioned by the Gariep Dam Crafts and Tourism Centre and funded by the National Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The Department of Architecture was asked to launch a student design competition in 2002 for the design of this building. The UEC did the design development and technical documentation, and a group of 16 men where trained in the production of stabilised adobe (sun-dried blocks). Building started in March 2004 and was completed in November 2004.

Ombili Project – Tsumeb, Namibia

The UEC was consulted for the evaluation of adobe buildings at Tsumeb in Namibia. This project was conducted by the Ombili Foundation, where Bushmen lived in two settlements. They were already producing blocks, and the UEC was asked to evaluate the process and provide information and advice. The UEC visited Ombili in October 2004.

Soul City Project – Kimberley, Northern Cape

The UEC was commissioned by the Department of Public Works and Roads for a technical evaluation of compressed-earth blocks used in the construction of a Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing project at Soul City (near the Northern Cape Legislative Complex). The UEC visited the site in April 2004 and presented a technical report.

adobe house community outreach
Description: Architecture Keywords: house, earth unit, sketch
EU 5
EU 4
house, earth construction, experimental, design
house community outreach building


Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531

Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284

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