The challenge

Our challenge is to explore the process of designing and constructing a house that adheres to the concept of efficiency within each iterative step of the design and construction process. Our intended contribution is purposefully broad as it includes a review of the very process of how homes are conceived and built. 

A fundamental aspect of this approach is the requirement that the home adapts to new needs and functions over decades – thereby maximising it’s value over time. Not an easy task. How do you predict changes in technology, who will be using the house in fifty years, or how it will be maintained over-time? You can’t. However, what you can do, is design an ‘open-ended’ home – one that has the capacity to change, should change be required. This website tracks this exploration and extracts from it relevant findings, that may be used to improve housing solutions for South Africa.

Our lives are constantly changing, and because of that, we’re investigating how much our homes need to change to adapt during our lifestyle. By engaging with the idea of a changeable and “enduring” home, we’ve begun to explore ways to build homes with the capacity to adapt to new needs and functions, so that one home can remain within one family for decades or be flexible enough to belong to various, very different families, over time. It also looks at the rapidly changing face of technology, and attempts to build in redundancies into the design, so that technology can be altered in the home without damaging the architecture. 

Documenting this process is in itself a challenge since the process of building is one of constant flux. This website hopes to record this process as it happens and investigates whether these discoveries are not better alternatives for housing delivery in South Africa. By “better” we refer to housing that is efficient, architecturally innovative, replicable or recyclable and internally flexible to adapt to new needs and lifestyles. For the South African context, this results in a quest for innovation which hopes to challenge the norms of housing, by using new materials to perform new functions in ways that meet our expectations, or exceed them.