Platinum Winner of the Houzee Awards 2023
Architect / Designer:
Adrien Gesulfo, Joel Baur, Gerald Mandevhana
The eHomes are sustainable, affordable housing units built in Blue Downs, South Africa. They are EDGE compliant and designed by Adrien Gesulfo. Each of these carefully crafted townhouses have been designed for comfortable and economical family living. The iconic curved architecture eliminates the distinction between wall and roof with room heights of up to 3.5 meters. Its incredible thermal insulation enables a reduction of over 50% in carbon emission in the production and lifecycle of the house, as well as five times better thermal insulation compared to conventional building materials in South Africa. The eHomes are designed as part of what we like to call eStates which is Citra’s commitment to creating environmentally friendly and sustainable accommodation that is not limited to the homes, but includes a holistic and environmental approach to large-scale urban planning. The resultant precincts, which integrate residential, retail, educational, and recreational uses with green open spaces and indigenous, water-wise landscaping. In the affordable housing sector, it is critical to achieve a higher density to improve affordability with lower prices of the units and greater income opportunities of the owners who can operate small businesses from their homes if sufficient customers are in close vicinity. Therefore, we opted to design double-storey row houses and allow the owners to adjust the units to transform their two-bedroom units into three or four-bedroom units inspired by Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena. We also designed single-storey units to cater for senior citizens and differently-abled owners. The design of the units takes advantage of Citra technology which allows us to design appealing, organic shapes with an upmarket flair at no extra cost, boosting pride and a sense of ownership with our clients who are generally first-time home buyers. Particular attention was given to the placement of the units and rooms within the units in relation to the street in order to create a dynamic and active urban environment with a strong community while bolstering individuality and creativity. Rooms that are actively used during the day, such as the kitchen and living rooms, were placed facing the road. A covered veranda is part of the entrance of every unit. Those two measures ensure that a high level of security is provided by the constant eyes on the road. Through this sense of security, all residents enjoy living out on the road with children playing in the road all day long, and people even feel comfortable leaving their belongings in the public sphere overnight, which is a great value that has been lost in many South African communities in the past decades through generally eroding levels of security.
At Citra Designs we believe that a home is much more than a physical structure to live in but the foundation of a happy, fulfilled life that makes its owner proud. We design homes as an integral part of the neighbourhood, and the greater community. Our organic designs are a non-linear aesthetic that links our homes to the natural world and is an expression of a new age in home-making. Being a leader in alternative sustainable building technology we pride ourselves in considering the building’s life cycle, considering future extendibility and the re-use of materials at a later stage.