Housing Prototype


 The Republic of South Africa


 United States Department of Energy / Government of the Republic of South Africa







About this Project

A rammed-earth prototype was planned to augment efforts to meet substantial housing demand. Noted for its hand-crafted appearance, deep window and door recesses and ability to accommodate variable site conditions rammed earth construction is a labor-intensive building process. However, building materials are inexpensive, finishes can vary widely and the technique can accommodate earthquake-zone structural requirements.
Clusters of three buildings were designed to be joined together to create different patterns of courtyards. These can be combined into as many as ten units to form a building. With this flexibility, urban sites can be developed with a more dense arrangement; suburban sites can be designed to reflect particular local site conditions and/or social planning issues.
Soil cement walls, a natural air-vent system, and the rammed-earth construction technique provide an almost constant temperature well suited to the region’s climate. A centralized solar storage power supply is available to each cluster of twenty-one units.