The well-known multi-million rand Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art at the V&A Waterfront, and a double story shack project in Khayelitsha, are competing for “the most inspirational and significant new buildings created across the globe”.

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

A list of 62 of the world’s best new buildings the “Riba International List 2018” complied by the Royal Institute of British Architects, featured both the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art and a more recent “Empower Shack” project built in Khayelitsha.

These structures have been placed on the list and described by Riba president Ben Derbyshire as the world’s best buildings showing “most impressive architectural talent”.

“This significant selection of 62 projects illustrates the meaningful impact and transformative quality that well-designed buildings can have on communities, wherever they are in the world,” Derbyshire told Property 360.

Two-storey shacks being built in Khayelitsha.


The shack project is currently under development by Ikhayalami, an NGO focusing on housing innovation in informal settlements, as well as the Urban Think Tank, based at the Swiss Institute of Technology ETHZ, in Zurich.

So far, a total of 19 houses have been built in Khayelitsha’s BT Section, and during phase two of the project another 20 houses built. A third phase will introduce an additional 33 buildings. The origins of the project was to upgrade shacks to have timber-framed, double-story structures with galvanised zinc sheeting – the founder of Ikhayalami, Andy Bolnick told Property 360. 


Interior view of one of the two-storey shacks in Khayelitsha.

Bolnick said the community trusted them and have gone the distance with them. “We’ve had challenges from Eskom and the city, who you’d think would be bending over backwards to support this project. But the community has been supportive and has held everyone to account, including ourselves.”
“Every step of the way there have been communication and discussions, and the community has been an integral part of the design process. We’ve had a lot of interest from surrounding communities requesting similar projects,”
The Royal prize for the Riba International List 2018, will be awarded in December 2018 to a building which exemplifies design excellence and architectural ambition, while delivering a meaningful social impact.

Pictures: Iwan Baan, Urban Think Tank Facebook

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