The youngest-ever architect to design a summer pavilion for the Serpentine, Sou Fujimoto plays with the distinction between inside and outside space and once based a house on a climbing frame. He has delivered a cloud-shaped structure made of fine steel latticework that people can move in and out of at will.
Here’s a selection of images of the design.
Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Zuni Pueblo and USDA Begin ‘Self Help Housing’ Program for 12 Families
On May 7, 12 Zuni Pueblo families and United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner broke ground on the construction of the Pueblo’s first “Self Help Housing” program homes.
This is the first program of its kind for American Indians in New Mexico.
The homes are to be built by the Zuni Pueblo members with the support from the USDA a press release from the USDA stated. According to Ernie Watson, Public Affairs Specialist on Rural Development for the USDA, “[t]he homeowners will build about 60 to 65 percent of the home. They do not install or construct those items that require a license.”
Orange Farm residents celebrate new homes
The Procter and Gamble Company (P&G), jointly with the Habitat for Humanity South Africa, officially handed over new houses to two families of Orange Farm.
Standa Vecera, P&G’s Vice President South & East Africa today confirmed this generous gesture and sealed any doubts in the minds of Ms. Nthabiseng Angelina Madikane and Ms. Thokozile Rose Mthembu who, since moving into their homes, thought it was just a dream.
The new homes could not have come at a better time as winter is slowly creeping in. These deserving families will now have a place to keep them warm.
“It is with great pride that we are able to lend a helping hand to provide not only practical accommodation but a home for the families, “says Vecera. “P&G’s opportunity to touch and improve lives comes with a responsibility to do so in a way that truly improves the communities in which we do business.”
Prior to obtaining her new home, Ms. Mthembu, one of the recipients of new homes, shared a dilapidated one room shack with her four children: three adults and one teenager. The shack was divided into a kitchen, sitting room and a bedroom. She indicated that their previous dwelling was hazardous as they suffered from extreme weather conditions. “When there was rain, the roof leaked and the shack would flood. When the weather was windy we would inhale dust and I have since been diagnosed with severe sinus,” says Ms. Mthembu. “I do not have the words to express my joy as the recipient of a new home. I have lived in a shack for the most part of my adult life. Life in a shack is miserable,” added Ms. Mthembu.
P&G funded the construction of the houses and the company’s staff donated their time and energy to physically build the houses with the help of other community volunteers. Facilitating this project was Habitat for Humanity who have been helping South African communities obtain decent homes with assistance from corporates and volunteers.
Volunteers are building a specially designed home for a woman who is allergic to everyday chemicals
A team of volunteers have spent the winter braving the short days and freezing temperatures to provide habitable accommodation for a woman who is unable to live in conventional housing, due to extreme allergic reactions to electrical fields and a range of chemicals commonly found in everyday objects.
As we sit among swathes of blankets in Gillian McCarthy’s council-provided ‘hut’, I am humbled by this woman’s jolly nature and joke-making, despite a near-lifetime of suffering. She asks me if I like her metaphorical fireplace: a bundle of red fairy lights in a wooden bowl, with a battery-powered candle protruding from the top.
“Well, it almost gives the impression that it’s warm in here, doesn’t it?” she says. A fire or electric heater proves impossible to heat the uninsulated home, due to Gillian’s electrosensitivity problems and because burn residues could trigger reactions.
A five by eight foot shed is a rather surreal location for a severely disabled person; I am hardly surprised when she talks of frostbite in her right foot. Teeth chatter together and toes lose all sensation as the agricultural biochemist and permaculture expert divulges to me that the shack was provided to her by the local council on a temporary basis, with promises of permanent accommodation.
One man’s fight against foreclosures in Carpentersville, Illinois
Tom Roeser is on a one-man mission to save Carpentersville, Ill., from falling into the fate of so many post-industrial Midwestern towns, where neighborhoods have become littered with vacant, foreclosed homes.
Over the past several years, the 60-year-old president and co-owner of the town’s largest employer, a maker of switches and communications gear called Otto Engineering, has bought 193 foreclosed homes, completely rehabilitated them and is either selling or renting them at a discount to local residents.
Roeser’s crusade to save this small Northeastern Illinois town started in 2005, soon after a townhouse condominium complex located about two miles from his factory was hit hard by foreclosures and started spawning crime — graffiti, gang tagging, property destruction. The Morningside neighborhood where the complex was located looked unkempt and depressed and property values were plunging.
“It really was neglected,” said Roeser. “I went to the town, the county; I went to Habitat for Humanity; I told them that we needed to do something about this neighborhood. I couldn’t get help from anybody.”
So Roeser proceeded to buy 69 of the foreclosed condos in the complex himself. Most of the homes he’s bought at auction for less than $30,000, then fixed up. Today, he rents out a renovated 800-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment for $675 a month, about $200 below market value.
Architect to build home using 3-D printer
A Dutch architect is thinking a little bigger about 3-D printing than the tiny-to-midsize trinkets we’ve seen so far.
He wants to print a house. And a pretty offbeat and innovative one at that.
“Landscape House” is the brainchild of architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars. He describes it as “one surface folded in an endless Mobius band,” or sort of a giant figure 8. According to its creator, walking through its continuous looping design will seamlessly merge indoors and outdoors in an effort to model nature itself.
The house would cost between $5 million and $6 million, according to the BBC, and there’s already been interest expressed by museums, private individuals and others, according to Ruijssenaars. He told the network that someone in Brazil plans to buy one to display native art he’s found in a nearby national park.
All that would be innovative enough on its own. But to take it a step further, the architect plans to build “Landscape House” using the emerging technology of 3-D printing.
Commercially available models like the MakerBot aren’t exactly up to the task. This requires a printer of enormous size. And Ruijssenaars found one in the D-Shape.
Described as a “mega-scale free form printer” by its makers, the massive aluminum structure uses sand, which it forms back into a material that’s like marble.
For “Landscape House,” it will be used to print out blocks that are about 20 feet by 30 feet. Those, along with some fiberglass and concrete reinforcements, will be used to create the building.
“3D printing is amazing,” Ruijssenaars told the BBC. “For me as an architect it’s been a nice way to construct this specific design — it has no beginning and no end, and with the 3-D printer we can make it look like that.”
He says his first “Landscape House” is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
The iShack: The simple, solar-powered home that could transform life for slum-dwellers
Meet the iShack, a modern take on an age-old design that is bringing new hope – and light – to the slums of South Africa.
Millions of people are unable to afford to move out of slums and shanty towns in sub-Saharan Africa but the development of the iShack is intended to lift their living standards. People living in rickety and makeshift shacks in slum areas can wait for years before they can get connected to the electricity or water grids, and the United Nations estimates that 62 per cent of the urban population in Sub-Saharan Africa lives in slums. With the iShack, the ‘improved shack’, they get a solid dwelling that is fitted with enough solar panels to keep the lights on at night and provide power for important equipment such as mobile phone chargers.
It is an initiative from researchers at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa which they hope can allieviate poverty across the country and beyond its borders.
Housing backlogs, government budgetary restrictions and a rise in the number of people moving to urban areas means it will be many years before the shacks of slums can be cleared away and replaced with bricks and mortar. Andreas Keller, one of the project leaders, said: ‘Shacks are becoming the new norm.
‘So what can we do today in order to improve the living conditions of people through energy intervention, lighting, cell phones, communication, upping security? That’s where the planning comes in and the technology takes it one step further.’
Each shack iShack costs about £410 ($660) and they have been deliberately designed to be as user-friendly as possible. Windows are placed to maximise air circulation and the sloping roof allows rainwater to be collected. The walls are insulated with recycled materials, a brick floor helps keep temperatures steady and flame-retardant paint is intended to reduce the risk of fires.
Lauren Tavener-Smith, a phd student at the university, said: ‘The materials and design were chosen based on affordability, accessibility and impact on thermal comfort.’
About 100 iShacks are expected to be erected over the next year following a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Nosango Victoria Plaatjie, a domestic worker employed once a week, has received one of the prototypes in Enkanini, a shanty town just outside Stellenbosch which is one of South Africa’s wealthiest areas. It has already made a huge difference to her life, especially with the electricity supply enabling her to keep her phone charged, which has meant she has been able to get more work.
She told CNN: ‘The solar [lights] are better. Now we don’t need to go to sleep early anymore because now we have lights. My daughter must do her homework now, she doesn’t have any more excuses. And I like the light outside because we can see what is going on, I feel safer.’
Rent-free, solar powered and it even has a movie room! The couple who turned an old school bus into their home - all for just $12,000
With a $12,000 budget, a San Fransisco couple decided to turn a 39-foot school bus into their dream home - one that sleeps ten people.
To create their totally off-grid dwelling, Richard and Rachel, who haven’t revealed their last names, mounted six solar panels on the roof of the bus, installed a compost toilet, solar fridge and freezer and a propane-fed catalytic heater, stove and oven. Rachel, who says they live rent-free, paying just $100 per month for maintenance, admitted that family and friends were ‘confused’ by their decision. ‘I think my mom’s reaction was “this isn’t the sixties,”’ she told FairCompanies.com.
But the duo explain on their blog, The MayBlue Bus, that their dream was ‘to own our home, produce all of our necessities of living, and have the option to go where we wanted.’ So after buying a used school bus for $3000, the couple drafted autoCAD plans and began to design every detail of their new home.
This enabled them to start with a blank canvas, instead of buying a used RV or already-made mobile home, which they believe is flimsier than a steel-framed bus. Their hand-made furniture is built to fit the specs of the bus, and much of it is duel purpose. A seven-foot loft bed above the driver’s seat was built for guests, and next to it, they created a lounge area with two seats and a table that also converts into a full-sized bed - where Richard’s father sleeps when visiting.
The bus also boasts a movie room, located on the ‘second-story’, which was made out of a van’s shell and welded on top of the bus. They also re-modeled IKEA pieces to fit their space, where a shoe cozy holds their trash and recycling bin, and rolling drawers that magnetically snap into place became their kitchen cupboard. Richard explain that investing in a bus, instead of an RV, ‘would allow us to have a blank canvas in terms of designing the interior.
‘This would ensure our ability to maximize the space and functionality. The shell conformed to our lives versus us conforming to it,’ he said of their work-in-progress. Solar panels power their lifestyle, which the couple, who build new parts of their home as they have the money, bought off eBay at $200 each.
They paid $1200 for the world’s first upright, front-loading, battery-free solar powered refrigerator and freezer from Sundanzer, which was made by a former leader of NASA’s Advanced Technology Refrigeration Project. They recently replaced their emergency toilet with a composting toilet, and plumbing is next on their list - they currently wash dishes with vinegar and shower in other locations every two to three days.
Rachel said: ‘Really, what we’re paying for is the efficiency of the items that we have. We want to live high-tech, but we want to live with the lowest amount of energy possible.’ Until the home is plumbing equip, the bus will stay registered as an automobile, rather than as an RV - an important status distinction.
‘The reason this is important is that RVs get home owners rights, which is helpful for taxes and credit. Also the police cannot search your vehicle without a warrant when it has RV status,’ Richard explained.Their investment, while slow-moving, is already paying off in the cost of living, they say. The couple pay just $100 per month in utilities and to maintain the bus, which enables them the freedom to live as they please - spending time with family and friends - rather than working full-time.
6500 volunteers - 34 corporate companies - 64 houses built!
The searing heat in Gauteng and the rain and cold across the other regions did little to dampen the spirits of close on 6500 volunteers from 34 corporate companies across South Africa who took time out from their normal work routine to lend a hand in Habitat’s largest Corporate Blitz Build to date during the week of 1 – 5 October.
Friday 5 October being the last day of the build week saw the culmination of their efforts and hard labour as 64 families were presented with the keys to the front door of their new homes at Habitat’s Special Closing Ceremony held across South Africa.
At the closing ceremony in Orange Farm, keynote speaker UNHABITAT’s Programme Manager, Mrs Pinky Vilakazi in her opening address asked everyone to stand and give a big hand to all the volunteers and corporates who made this possible “this day is a special day - although you have your own house, your own families and your own children to look after, you set aside this week to come here and do your part in a week of “servant hood” – we appreciate and salute you for this and will always remember your contribution - however small you may think it may have been, you have left your mark in the hearts of this community!” she said.
Other key speakers at the ceremony included; IDC’s CEO, Mr Geoffrey Qhena; Federated Employers’ Mutual Assurance Company Limited’s CFO, Mr Ashwin Daya and ArcelorMittall’s Corporate Responsibility Manager, Maggie Mopedi – all long standing donor partners with Habitat.
In his address, IDC’s CEO, Mr Geoffrey Qhena, thanked Habitat for coordinating the project and said they were proud and privileged to be afforded the opportunity to come and make a difference in the Orange Farm community. “In partnership and through the intervention of the corporates we know we have made a difference to the lives of the beneficiaries this week” he said.
Mr Ashwin Daya, FEM’s CEO said they were extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to assist the Orange Farm community and to add to their dignity by providing the basic need - a place to live in. He also called on the sponsors involved in the project to keep the project alive by encouraging their competitors and their suppliers to join the initiative to make a difference in our country.
For just one of the beneficiaries living in Orange Farm, Anne Moletsane (79 years old, a widow of 30 years and looking after two grandchildren as her own siblings have all passed on), the prospect of finally owning her own home represents a very special Christmas this year, “this will be the first time I will be able to look out of my window on Christmas Day at the rain falling down outside knowing that this year it will not come in and flood my shack as has happened in all the other years, said Anne
“Thank you to corporate South Africa for making this possible – we asked you to help us serve others in need and your response was resounding - through the collective power of people like you coming together to help others in need, 64 families now have a place they can call home!” said, Adrienne Burke, Habitat’s Marketing Specialist.
Habitat for Humanity South Africa is a leading non-profit company and is part of Habitat for Humanity International, which was founded in 1976 and today has branches in more than 80 countries worldwide.
We believe that every person has the right to a home that offers security and comfort. With the support of volunteers, we put our faith into action by building homes for families in need and offering them the foundation for a better life. Our belief is that dignity, hope and independence are achieved through equal, accountable partnerships – not hand-outs. That is why every family contributes time and effort into the construction of their home and the homes of other recipients in the programme.
By uniting South Africans in a common goal we’re not just building houses - we’re transforming communities. We measure our success by positive and lasting social and economic change.
Indigenous visitors hostel opens in Kalgoorlie-Boulder
The Kalgoorlie Indigenous Visitors’ Hostel cost $3.25 million. The facility will provide secure family-friendly accommodation for Aboriginal people visiting from remote communities. It is hoped the hostel will reduce the number of people sleeping rough.
Mr Redman says the model, which links the facility into community services, could help other regions dealing with transient homelessness. “Already we are looking very seriously at Derby, that community has been asking for some sort of hostel facility in town,” he said. “What I’m seeing here is exactly the sort of stuff that I think we can make work up there.”
Traditional Tjuntjuntjara elder, Harry Hogan, who is from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, was part of the consultation process. He will soon stay at the facility so he can receive important medical treatment in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
“We’re very happy about this place,” he said. “People will come down from Tjuntjuntjara to stay with us here in this place. “We’ve been sleeping all of our lives here [Kalgoorlie-Boulder] and not knowing this place.”
Mr Redman says it is important there is consultation with communities to find out what they need. “We engaged with the communities, the people who are going to use the facility; as a product of that hopefully you can land something that in fact works,” he said.
He says while a range of services are provided in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, including housing, they do not meet the needs of people coming off the lands. “It didn’t meet the short stay demand, often people were living it rough,” he said.
“This is an endeavour to provide not only a facility but to provide a wrap around service for those that are transient coming through those communities, to pick up those services and then to return to where they come from.”
Mr Hogan says it will bring the community together. “This place is a good place for the community, to work with the young people and old people, to see it going well, to work together,” he said.
Rajasthan to offer houses to urban poor
The Rajasthan cabinet Wednesday gave approval to various proposals, including related to execution of a housing scheme for urban poor and establishment of universities in the state.
The cabinet meeting was presided over by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (pictured above.)
‘Mukhyamantri Shahri BPL Awas Yojana’ was announced in the State Budget 2012-13. The target has been fixed to benefit one lakh below poverty line families in urban areas.
“Under the scheme selected BPL families in urban areas will be provided subsidy of Rs.50,000 to construct houses. The financial provision of Rs.500 crore a year will be made through loan for the execution of the scheme,” said a official spokesperson.
The cabinet also gave approval to rename Rajasthan University of Journalism and Mass Communication, Jaipur after the name of former chief minister of Rajasthan Haridev Joshi.
The cabinet also cleared establishment of many universities in state, including Brij University, Bhartpur, Matsya University, Alwar and Shekhawati University, Sikar among others.
“Land has already been marked for these universities and land allotment has been made for Shekhawati University, Sikar and Sardar Patel University, Jodhpur,” said the spokesperson.
The cabinet also cleared a proposal to develop slum areas in the state.
South Africa: Zuma launches Kanana Park housing project
Timred Jabaza has been waiting 22 years for a decent home - but on Friday his long wait finally came to an end when President Jacob Zuma handed him the key to his new, fully furnished two-bedroom house. Jabaza was one of the first beneficiaries of the more than 200 new houses that Zuma handed over in Kanana Park Ext 3 on Friday. Others who will be benefitting from the new homes include those were found living in uninhabitable conditions when the President visited Sweetwaters and Thulamntwana in 2010.
Following that visit, the Gauteng Provincial Government and the City of Johannesburg began developing the Kanana Park housing project, which will incorporate the settlements of Thulamntwana, Sweetwaters and the two smaller informal settlements of Doornkuil and Bhekaphambili. A total of 3 101 houses are being built, 1 793 of which are government subsidised housing units, 756 social-rental units and 552 bonded units.
Parks, two sports grounds, two primary schools, a high school, a clinic, and commercial and light industrial sites are also being planned for the area. Jabaza’s daughter Kholeka Jabaza said it was wonderful to see one of her father’s dreams finally realised. “It wasn’t nice staying in a shack, especially at his age. It was not easy. My father has been waiting for 22 years and his day has finally arrived,” she beemed.
Kholeka was particularly pleased that Zuma, who had promised better living conditions for residents during his 2010 visit, had kept his word. ”It’s been less than two years and already it’s happened. I’m so grateful. I just hope that he can do the same for everyone who has been living in those conditions,” she added.
Patience Mehlomekhulu will also spend the first night in her own decent home on Friday. The 74-year-old had been living in a shack with her grandchildren were conditions were far from ideal. “It was so cold I could not sleep at night. Tonight I will sleep in my new house for the first time. I am very happy,” she said.
Zuma, who was accompanied by a number of representatives from national and provincial government, also addressed a community meeting after handing over the houses. He said he was touched when he visited the area in 2010 and found that people were living in dire poverty. Plans were in place to develop the area and those plans were speeded up after his visit.
“Everyone on the list will get a house…Everything takes time … things will not happen in one day but at the end everyone will have a house,” Zuma assured residents.
He also promised that there would be electricity and other services in the area. Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said the Kanana Park housing projects would be a mixed development. Apart from the “give away houses”, houses will also be built for affordable rentals.
“We are providing for families,” she said. Millions had been earmarked to build houses and develop the area, she said.
Please, step inside my fuselage: Oregon man recycles plane into home
Looking for a unique property that boasts more than 1,000 square feet of living space, a woodsy Oregon location and … wings? Get a load of Bruce Campbell’s retired Boeing 727-turned-home.
Over the next five days, to commemorate the U.N.-mandated Nelson Mandela International Day, housing charity Habitat for Humanity is working with volunteers to build 67 houses across South Africa, in honor of Mandela’s 67 years of political service.
Read More HERE.
See more pictures all week on Habitat for Humanity South Africa’s Facebook page.
George Lucas Strikes Back of the Day: Star Wars creator George Lucas has been trying for years to convert a large parcel of land in Marin County, California into a 300,000 square foot movie studio, with amenities including a day care center, restaurants, a gym and a parking garage, only to be shot down by his wealthy neighbors.
Because the local homeowners’ association has refused to let Lucas move forward with the studio, he’s decided to put the land to good use by transforming it into low-income housing, simultaneously doing a good deed and trolling his fellow landowners.
“If everyone feels that housing is less impactful on the land, then we are hoping that people who need it the most will benefit,” Lucas snarked.
He’s even donating the various studies and surveys he paid for while working on the movie studio project, to help the new housing development get underway more quickly.
That might be almost enough to outweigh creating Jar Jar Binks.