Light Steel construction at Monaghan Farm



Last year, Sean Pearce of MDS architects was a Rest Pilot in our #RestTest. His interest in Light Steel construction has been an ongoing design fascination, so much so that he is now designing is own home at Monaghan Farm using a light steel frame and Saint-Gobain dry-walling.

It seems that his experience at Stand 47 last year was a huge motivation in the design and construction of his own insulated, energy efficient and ultimately responsible home. This was made easy by the benefits of using light steel frames, namely their speed of installation and their insular performance.

While there are other products in the market that can be used with light steel frames, Pearce elected to use Saint-Gobain products and technologies because the company have an excellent track record in the industry and are committed to green technologies. For Pearce, their focus on finding green solutions to construction problems ultimately overlaps with his own goals. He is using Gyproc ceilings and Gyproc Rhinolite, as well as Saint Gobain’s ETICS walling system.

We asked him if he thinks that more architects and home owners are going to adopt this way of building their dream homes and he said yes… “people’s mindsets are changing and are becoming more ‘green’ conscious. More efficient homes equate to more economically friendly benefits long term. People are also having to react to both the electricity and water crises in our country by looking at green alternatives. Lightweight walling is a step in the right direction”. We could not agree more.






Our first guest to visit Stand 47 in 2016 was Thomas Chapman, founder and principal of the Architecture firm, Local Studio. He holds Masters Degrees in architecture and urban design and worked as a oral history and civic engagement researcher before going into professional practice. Since forming Local Studio in 2012, he has directed his efforts at inventing new directions for African architecture and urbanism through innovations in community participation, public space design and alternative construction methodologies.

Following a weekend at Stand 47, Thomas says that although he is already a convert to alternative walling systems like those used in Stand 47, he found that the Saint-Gobain drywall technology works very well in this type of house.

When asked about his impressions about the home, he said that the approach to the house is quite unassuming, adding that the buildings are incredibly well sited so as to make one feel completely secluded. The well-considered decor within the open and uninterrupted main living volume made an immediate first impression, followed by the simple use of slender steel to support the stoep and small T-sections to create the screens –  these elements add to the striking northern elevation discovered when standing in the garden. His favourite detail by far was the beautifully finished parquet flooring.

He says that the house is quiet and lends itself to promoting an overall sense of comfort. He added that he felt a sense of well-being that included feeling very relaxed, content and inspired within the house. His final verdict? He would feel absolutely comfortable living in a house like this, and would definitely consider designing (more) buildings with these materials.