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AfrikaUK

26’10 SOUTH ARCHITECTS / SOUTH AFRICA: LUFHERENG HOUSING PROJECT – POST-OCCUPANCY DOCUMENTATION, 2015 Lufhereng forms part of South Africa’s subsidised housing programme which has delivered 2.5 million houses for low-income earners since 1994. This achievement in numbers comes at a cost. Most of the resulting settlements are characterized by monotonous low density sprawl, located on cheap land on the periphery of the urban economy. This in turn exacts high transport costs to access work, education and services. Despite being rooted in this approach the Lufhereng project has made some hard-won departures: A range of house types mitigate the monotony resulting from the repetition of a standard house design. In addition, the intentionally intimate relationship of houses to the street, their proportions as well as the inclusion of verandas as semi-public thresholds strongly contribute to the sense of community and safety of the settlement. It is, however, unlikely that the original architecture of Lufhereng will be recognisable 30 years from now. Legal ownership of land finally affords beneficiaries the security to invest in their properties and to customise their houses to suit their needs. For the Louisiana exhibition Africa the architects returned to Lufhereng after 5 years to document the original 40m² dwellings, many of which are now being used as shops, crèches and shebeens (informal taverns). Some houses have been extended to include additional rooms for extended family or tenants. These adaptations stem from a dire need to earn a living and to accommodate household structures which consistently depart from the nuclear family norm. Documenting the post-occupancy realities alludes to the limitations and potential of the spatial and institutional framework underpinning this housing approach. The narratives demonstrate people’s need and capacity to transcend the static nature of architecture and acknowledging these lived realities provides a strong argument for the enabling potential of an ever-evolving, mutable, architecture of the city. Urban design carried out by 26’10 south Architects in   partnership with Peter Rich Architects and Prof PG Raman JOHANNESBURG 97


AfrikaUK
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