Empower Shack

Empower Shack is an interdisciplinary development project directed by ETH and the local NGO Ikhayalami Development Services, in collaboration with the BT-Section community and associated local and international partners. The pilot phase was focused on a cluster of 68 houses within the BT-Section of Khayelitsha. Through innovative design and organizational models, the project developed a comprehensive and sustainable informal settlement upgrading strategy centered on four core components: a two-story housing prototype, participatory spatial planning, ecological landscape management, and integrated livelihoods programming. Employing the socio-spatial “Blocking Out” process alongside new digital visualization tools and micro-financing, Empower Shack has created an interface between residents, professionals, and the government.

A main focus of the project is on the creation of sustainable landscape elements that help mitigate the use of water and other services through innovative low-tech solutions such as the capture, treatment and reuse of greywater. Water sensitive urban design elements like tree pits and reed channels also control flooding issues. These elements were designed in direct collaboration with the residents in order to be implemented successfully.

Chair of Architecture and Urban Design, ETH Zurich

Client: BT Section Site C Development Committee
Partners: Ikhayalami, City of Cape Town

Project Manager: Scott Lloyd, Danny Wills
Project Assistant: Clara Bitter, Fernande Bodo, Axel Chevrolet, Maria Deluren, Michele de Viliers, Emma Flores, Andrea Johnson, Marcin Kurdziel, Svenya Schärfer, Irfan Safdag

Local Architect: Design Space Africa
Collaborators:  De Villiers & Hulme, Engineers, Information Architecture, ETHZ, Management Information Services, ETHZ, Transolar, PJCarew Consulting, OKRA Landscape Architects, Isidima, Arturo Brillembourg, Riverside Consulting

Next Project >