It’s no news that a large percentage of rural Africa has used mud as the foundation material in housing for centuries and whilst this is often associated with humble and simple housing structures, Englishman Simric Yarrow is currently building his own version in suburban Muizenberg in Cape Town, South Africa - a 1 million Rand (just under $135,000 USD) budget cot, claimed to be the first in the country. With up to 4 bedrooms, 2 lounges, 2 shower rooms and a garage amongst other things, this is by no means the traditional African home made out of mud but it’s promised to be run by solar power and use recycled water etc. This otherwise inexpensive and environmentally friendly mode of house building is not used to solve South Africa’s housing crisis due to the negative and misinformed view of these homes, as ‘mud huts’, being viewed as old fashioned and backwards.
Yarrow, who works for an NGO in South Africa says: “What we've tried to do with this house is show something people can aspire to – seeing mud as chic. I didn't understand why people were continuing to build houses with bricks and cement when the resources are here and the climate is right to build it this way, which is much cheaper and more environmentally friendly.”