Architecture Foundation Australia

International Alumni Projects

Projects by the great community of participants on 'oz.e.tecture' events

Cape Town, South Africa : Mike Louw

Mike Louw, Capetown, South Africa : Glenn Murcutt Master Class 2005

[ student design build : washing and ablutions : underprivileged communities ]

The Imizamo Yethu Water Platforms

University of Cape Town, School of Architecture, Planning, Geomatics

Student Design and Build Programs 2010 – 2016

Imizamo Yethu

, is an informal settlement in the greater Hout Bay Valley area, 20km south of central Cape Town. The 18 hectare settlement houses approximately 33,600 people.

The Imizamo Yethu water platforms is an annual design-build project that has run each year 2010 - 2016 in different locations. The projects are designed in the second year of study at the University of Cape Town and implemented by volunteers students in the June vacation.

In the informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu, an estimated 9464 households make use of shared toilets and taps, which means that the service ratio is an average of 61.1 households per toilet and a staggering 394.3 households per tap. 

The water platforms are a way of providing additional services, more dignified places for water collection, spaces for the washing of clothes and the integration of these with shared toilet facilities where these are in close proximity. The platforms also serve as social gathering spaces and cleaner areas for children to play.

The main aims of the project are practical teaching and learning, and the contribution to infrastructure service delivery, while sub-themes include skills building, temporary job creation and the use of recycled content.

The design of the platform and its parts has been integrated into the course curriculum, and after designs are developed and the necessary planning and community liaison is completed, the project moves onto site.

During an intensive two weeks in the June vacations, the students and a few key staff members do earthworks, build formwork, install reinforcing, mix concrete, build walls, paint and even make roof structures, all in conjunction with members of the community.

Project Leader : Mike Louw, Senior Lecturer, University of Capetown

Collaborators (staff) : John Coetzee, Shafiek Matthews, Kevin Fellingham, Heinrich Kammeyer, Nic Coetzer, Luis Mira

Collaborators (students) : Second year BAS student volunteers

Community Liaison : Kenny Towke

Included in the official program for World Design Capital 2014 and exhibited at Cape Town City Hall as part of the Open design Festival 2014.


architects thinking locally acting globally


Lindsay Johnston