Eat your walls! Did you see the Green Shack at the Design Indaba held at the CTICC from the 27th Feb – 3 March?
The Green Shack had an amazing edible wall containing herbs , vegetables and some threatened cape flats fynbos species – and was installed by greencube nursery who are based at Noordhoek Farm Village!
If you did attend the Design Indaba 2013 you may well have seen the Green Shack – a wonderful initiative looking at how simple, low-tech design can transform “temporary” spaces into “home” spaces and is entirely focused on what can be achieved right now! The Design explores the transformative power of light, water and plants.
The Concept involves changing “temporary” spaces ( informal housing) into safer places of living. Shack owners are affected by ground water flooding every year because teh water level rises in winter above the surface. Shack fires kill and destroy the lives and livelihoods of thousands each and every year and food security remains a challenge.
People need both low cost houses and food. Traditional thinking says that the one comes at a loss to the other one. Human hearted design uses the one to compliment the other. It combines the two and loses neither. Address the food security issue and informal housing in the SAME physical space.
Here’s the Concept:
Imagine a cube. Like the cube the shack has 6 sides.
Side 1: the floor.
We raise it off the ground to respond to ground water flooding.
Side 2 and Side 3: Sun-facing Walls
The next 2 sides of the cube represent the sun-facing walls of the shack. These should be wrapped in a fire-proof boarding and covered by a vertical thriving organic vegetable garden. This wall garden creates food for the household. The wall is drip irrigated using a low tech- slow release gravity fed system via a pipe made of recycled car tires. Rain water is also captured off the roof and stored on site. The slow-drip nature of the irrigation system ensure that the wall is constantly wet.
The vertical food wall is protected from winds by a layer of see-through roof sheeting creating a lockable greenhouse. This also protects the vegetables from livestock and vandalism. This wet wall also regulates the temperature of the shack and provides an alternative form of insulation as opposed to highly flammable forms of insulation like paper, cardboard and plastic. The wet walls of organic vegetables and soil reduce combustible fuel loading materials with healthy on-site food.
Side 4 and Side 5: Non- sun-facing walls
These 2 non-sun facing walks- created a double- layer of corrugated iron, filled with sandbags.
Side 6: The Ceiling
The design suggest installing a ceiling under the roof, made from a slightly thicker fire-proof boarding to further fire-proof the shack. It also suggest the use of “liter of light bulbs” = transmitting sunlight into the shack. The solar bulb is a recycled 2-litre plastic bottle filled with water and 3 teaspoons of bleach. The bottle is placed into the roof with a base plate, riveted into the roof and waterproofed from rainfall and water. Sunlight shines through the bottle, emitting a light that is more powerful than a conventional low energy light bulb. This also creates low-tech electricity savings for those living without windows.
The solar bulb let’s light in, but not the criminals. Bonus. The solar bulb is a cool light, because it’s not tungsten bulb. The isolative properties of the sandbags and vertical food “wet wall” along with the solar bulbs assist greatly in making the shack the a more livable, less hostile environment. In addition, light from the sun is free, while electricity costs continue to soar in South Africa.
This is meaningful way to stop shack fires, and start growing healthy communities and healthy food.
The Green Shack was designed by Stephen Lamb of Touching the Earth Lightly (TEL) in collaboration with Andrew Lloyd and Liter of Light Foundation. Vertical edible food wall installed by greencube Nursery! Well Arlo and team – we loved it and really proud of you!
Excerpts of Article taken from the Design Indaba team and website: See original article here
Noordhoek Farm Village:
Info office tel: 021 789 2812
Management office tel no: 021 789 1317