The goal of this project was to plan for the implementation of improved structures, both public and private, within the community of Monwabisi Park, Cape Town. In developing a partnership with community members and key stakeholders, the team aimed to provide a plan for sustainable, functional structures that better serve the community’s needs.


ecoBEAM House

ecoBEAM House

By looking at the interviews and charrettes that were conducted by last year’s WPI students as well as interviewing Buyiswa Tonono, the team was able to gain a better understanding of the current housing conditions as well as community wants and needs. The initial site of housing redevelopment was decided based on available land and feasibility. Based on the dimensions of this area, safety design principles and conversations with Robert Taylor, new housing layouts were proposed. The team also talked extensively with Dinny Laurence concerning the management of the final housing system. A Home Owner’s Association and Householder’s Agreement were discussed because there is no formal township to directly monitor housing or facilities.

Read more: Housing Report

Community Centres

ecobeam - ccThe team studied the Indlovu Project as a prototype for community centres that have been proposed for other sections of Monwabisi Park. By doing field observation of the Section C community centre and conducting an interview with Buyiswa Tonono, the team was able to determine that a community centre can provide space for community meetings and social events, a soup kitchen, guest rooms, health services and adult and/or youth education. In reviewing the work of last year’s WPI Buildings Team and Mapping Team, our team analyzed and determined possible locations that new community centres could be built. The team spoke with Mike Tremeer and Robert Taylor from ecoBEAM as well as Dinny Laurence about other concerns including the costs of construction, upkeep, management, employment and even labour. These considerations were compiled in a proposal for planning and building community centres in each section of the settlement.

Read more: Community Centre Report


ecobeam - methodology (2)One of the team’s goals was to create a picture-intensive how-to ecoBEAM manual that future builders can use as a reference tool. The team visited the ecoBEAM factory. Here we were able to learn about the building technology and, with the assistance of Gakeem, an ecoBEAM employee, build a beam for ourselves. Later, with the assistance of Robert Taylor, ecoBEAM Construction Manager, the team constructed a wall for demonstration purposes in MWP. Using this documentation as well as photos taken at ecoBEAM, the team was able to begin compilation of the manual.

Read more: ecoBEAM Building Manual (pdf)


playground - methodology (2)The team also proposed to build a playground within the community.  The team talked with Buyiswa Tonono and worked closely with the WPI Planning Team as well as the Water and Sanitation Team in determining its location.  From these discussions, the team determined that the location should be easily accessible in relation to where children already congregate, facilitate and promote supervision and be near youth centres or crèches that have already been built. By visiting playgrounds within Monwabisi Park as well as Harare, the team gained inspiration for designs and layouts. The team noticed that by using materials that were readily available, they could limit costs and create a playground that is reproducible within other sections of the settlement.

Read more: Plan for a sustainable playground

Author: WPI CT09 Buildings