Beacons of Empowerment

[re, de]       

Cape Town, South Africa

Des Baker Architectural Student Design Competition (entry)
Khensani de Klerk
and Zubair Parker

The competition proposal draws attention to the lives of the homeless in Cape Town central business district. By engaging with the harsh realities of shelter, hygiene, safety and storage faced by those living on the outskirts of society, the intervention aims to provide a way in which homeless people may reclaim their dignity and gain access to basic human necessities. Two components make up the intervention, a DIY pod and a public urban structure. The DIY pod provides shelter from the elements whilst acting as a mobile storage facility during daily travels. The pod can be easily constructed and dismantled. The pods attach to the public structure and in doing so provide access to clean water. In this attachment to the structure pods congregate, forming a community by giving the opportunity to engage with other individuals who may face similar difficulties. The funnel-like form of the central structure acts as a source of light both for those gathering around its base and to pod owners who may experience it as a beacon from afar. The beacon becomes a landmark allowing those seeking services to navigate their way to the base. In addition, the form of the tower acts as a means of rain water collection which is stored below ground level. The daytime function of the urban public structure is a wifi hotspot and piece of urban furniture. This aims to reintegrate members of the homeless community with the general public by providing as structure which both can use. This daily interaction will aid in altering the misconceptions surrounding homelessness. The hope is that these interventions will be implemented on an urban scale in areas of high density. By providing an effective public space and a platform for the reintegration of the homeless back into society and a signalling board for state response, these structures will become a valuable component of city life in years to come, improving infrastructure and societal conditions in South Africa.

Khensani Jurczok-de Klerk© 2024