Top British practices pair up with local firms to create affordable dwellings for Cape Town

Sir Terence Conran, Will Alsop and David Adjaye are among 10 designers who have signed up to plan affordable housing for families living in townships outside Cape Town in South Africa.

The designers will each work with a local practice to produce the prototype of an affordable dwelling. The houses must be between 36m2 and 42m2 and cost between R45,000 and R50,000 (£3,200 and £3,500). This figure has to include all the construction costs, including the internal fit-out.

The prototypes will be handed over to the South African minister of housing to use as templates for new buildings in the townships, free of charge.

Other architects and designers involved include: Thomas Heatherwick, Eva Jiricna, Shigeru Ban, Lindy Roy, Christophe Egret, the co-founder of Studio Egret West, Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham Architecture.

The project, called Design Indaba 10 × 10, will be managed by Mike Edmonds, an engineer with Arup. Edmonds said: This project will bring design and innovation into an area clearly of major significance.”

The scheme is the brainchild of Ravi Naidoo, founder of Design Indaba, a conference held in Cape Town that is now in its tenth year. Those taking part in the project have all spoken at past conferences.

Each architect or designer has been asked to donate 10 hours of their time to work on the project, whereas their South African partners will donate 30 hours.

Christophe Egret said: “There will be a total of 40 hours put into designing a very cheap, very practical house. Ravi and his team will see how each fares and then choose which ones to take forward.

“We will no doubt spend more than 10 hours on the project, but even two hours every day for a week would produce a lot of creative thinking.”

Will Alsop said: “I’m delighted. I’ve been out there and can see there is work to do. I’m pleased to be able to help.”

The South African architects involved in the project are: Luyanda Mpahlwa, Andrew Makin, Janina Masojada, Don Albert, Jo Noero, Silvio Rech, Lesley Carstens, Martin Kruger, Stefan Antoni, Ruben Reddy, Henning Rasmuss and Vanessa September.