African Design Magazine July 2016 - Page 36

6 T he Casas Melhoradas project is conducted by the Institute of Architecture, Urbanism & Landscape, at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation, and is linked to the institution’s research on urban development in the Global South. The project collaborates with the Mozambican NGO Estamos, the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (FAPF) and the Danish branch of Architects without Borders (AUG). Casas Melhoradas was exhibited and published on numerous notable platforms, including Louisisana Museum of Modern Art, the Danish architectural magazine Arkitekten, Virserum Museum of Art and the Danish pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. The latest prototype was built in 2016 and consists of a vertical addition to an old house in proximity to the centre of Maputo, in a slum area in the Polana Caniço neighbourhood. The project demonstrates how existing buildings can be transformed to meet the need to build more densely. An additional concrete structure was added to the old house supporting the new first floor timber construction. The housing unit was constructed with a simple building system, consisting of lightweight wooden elements, prefabricated in a local timber workshop, transported by hand and assembled for a complete housing unit in relatively short time. The house reinterprets the traditional “Casa de Madeira e Zinco” (local housing type consisting of a timber and corrugated iron sheets), whereas the old house is the common “Casa de Blocos” (local housing type consisting of concrete blocks).