From the Series
Casas Melhoradas is a residential development project that aims to improve housing conditions for low-income groups in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique.
The aim of the project is to both raise the quality of housing and lower housing prices while developing a housing model that utilises space and infrastructure more effectively.
The structure draws on the area’s traditional “Casa de Madeira e Zinco,” which is made of wood and corrugated iron sheets, and the "Casa de Blocos," which is composed of concrete blocks.
Designed by Jørgen Eskemose and Johan Mottelson, Casas Melhoradas is joint venture between Architects without Borders and The Department of Human Settlements at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts' School of Architecture, Design, and Conservation.
The design features a first floor concrete base with a lightweight double-storey wooden house on top and outdoor balconies. The outdoor balconies are intended to provide a social transition zone between inside and out.
The wood used in the development is sustainable. Local carpenters and craftsmen were employed to construct and assemble the prefabricated elements making Casas Melhoradas the first housing model in the area built in collaboration with local artisans in a slum.
Casas Melhoradas reinterprets existing forms of housing, production and construction techniques in order to create capacity for mass production of housing based on local indigenous resources and skills. The narrow structure is a move towards compact housing in urban environments to meet the rapidly growing urban population.
The project was completed in mid-2015 and features in African Architecture, Culture and Identity, a major exhibition at Louisiana, Museum of Modern Art.
Images courtesy Johan Mottelson.