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«CSAAR (7: 2010: Amman) Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development \ Edited by Steffen Lehmann, Husam Al Waer, Jamal AI-Qawasmi. Amman: The Center ...»

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Area B is comprised of informal urban areas, where settlement took pI ace before any planning had been implemented. Some areas had services and some not at all. Area A comprises formal urban areas, i.e" townships that were planned before settlement took place and, or may not, have all the serv iees, such as water, electricity and/or a sewerage system. Area C consists 01' rural areas, where the land belongs to the tribe and the local chief is in charge of the distribution thereof. These areas, too, may or may not have all the relevant services.

4.1.2 Acceptability of earth as a building material The acceptability of earth as a building material was addressed on the basis of several different questions. In response to the queslion on illterviewees' opinions regarding the average quality of walls made from adobe blocks, in terms 01' a 5­ point Likert scale (very good·· very poor). 1he most frequent answer was "poor" (47.3%: n844), [üilowed by "very poor" (34.3%): n=612), Regarding the Gerhard Bosman, Petria Smit & Das Steyn question as to whether they feIt that the use of adobe was problematic, 86.6% (n= 1546) of interviewees responded in the affirmative. When asked if they considered the use of adobe to be a good idea, 84.6% (n= 1377) of interviewees answered in thc negative.

–  –  –

4.1.3 Reasons for low acceptability levels Tbe respondents specified the problems which were related to the use of adobe (q22). Tbe responses were divided into the following categories: (a) Collapses;

(b) Cracks: (c) Maintenance; (d) Climate/rain; (e) Insects; (f) Not safe/ not strong and (g) Other. More than one of these categories could be selected as arguments for regarding the use of adobe as problematic.

–  –  –

4.1.4 Acceptability in relation to specific factors In the determination of the nonparametric correlation coefficients, a significant correlation was found between the perception relating to adobe, and the fact that a person 1S (or is not) currently living in an adobe house. This positive weak correlation suggested that respondents who live in an adobe house perceive adobe houses in a more positive light than those who currently do not reside in an adobe house.

Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 337

5 The Intervention

This phase of the project involved the promotion of earth construction. This was

achievcd by means of:

the presentation of technical workshops; and the performances of a community play in Setswana and Sesotho (the local language of these arcas).

The aim was to promote earth as a building material with the potential to create better living environments; and to change perceptions regarding earth construction.

5.1 Metbodology of the inten'ention It was decided that schools in the arcas would be used to conduction activities. A classroom, hall or similar venue was utilised for the conduction of the play and workshops.

5.2 The workshops Five technical workshops (one in each area) were presentcd. People from different backgrounds attended the workshops. Those who attended includcd councillors, small builders and chiefs, inter alia. The aim of the workshops was to familiarise people with the contemporary use of earth construction.

5.3 The play

The project team had been looking for a medium through which to tell a story and convey a message that would be of interest to a larger audience. A comedy entitled "Hofeta Makhukhung" - "A Story of Hope". The play, which was presented in the format of a community theatre production, was performed in Sesotho and Setswana. Fourteen performances of this comedy were attendcd by a total of 5260 adults and school children.

6 The Second Survey The second survey was done after a one in 50 year flood in the central area of South Africa. Houses buHt in earth showed problems associated with wet conditions; collapsing foundation walls, plastering that falling off, crack forming in parapet walls etc.

6.1 The methodology

–  –  –

during the period before the performance of the community play while Survey 11 (from 3 - 7 March 2006) was conducted thereafter. The areas were homogeneous, as in the case of Survey I (conducted in 2004).

6.2 The resuIts of Survey 11 6.2.1 Preferred building material for walls and motivations for preferences.

Respondents were asked to indicate which building material they preferred for the construction of walls. Answers to the question relating to the reasons for respondents' preferences in this regard. are grouped into the following categories: (a) Aesthetics; (b) Strong and safe; (c) Fewer problems; (d) Climate;

(e) Quick building process; (f) Finances; and (g) Other. Table x indicates the scores in each category, grouped aecording to interviewees' preferences.

–  –  –

6.2.2 Influence of the play on perceptions regarding the acceptability of adobe blocks The results of the Mann-Whitney U test reveal that in cases where respondents had attended the play, their perceptions regarding adobe blocks had not been influenced by their attendance; and that no differences were observable between the perceptions of interviewees who had attended the play, and the perceptions of those who had not attended the play, in terms of their opinions regarding the quality of adobe blocks.

6.3 Conclusion of Survey II On the basis of the results, it must be concluded that no visible effect of the interventions can be observed within the population of interviewees who responded to the questions posed in Questionnaire 2. In order to change people's perceptlons regarding adobe blocks, other measures will need to be taken.

Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 339

7 Lessons from the Research Project

The study has shown that earth construction is being used as a sustainable building method in South Africa. This was achieved by pointing out relevant research and providing adequate examples. On the basis of the results, it can be concluded that no visible effect of the interventions can be observed. In order to change people's perceptions regarding adobe blocks, other measures will need to be taken or the effect of floods before the Survey II influenced people's attitudes towards earth construction.

The search for a sustainable approach to aB spheres of development has, in recent times, become an ever more pressing matter. Affordable, effective construction methods that represent sustainable architecture are thus becoming of great importance in achieving this goal. The attempt to change perceptions regarding earth construction was not singularly effective. According to the research results, the respondents ranged from poor to extremely poor. It is thus to be expected that basic services such as running water, electricity and a flushing toilet inside the dwelling could constitute acceptable Iiving standards. The tolerance for earth houses was low, with the most important reasons for dislike of this construction method cited as the fact that these houses co Ilapse, are not strong and stable and cannot withstand climate factors such as rain. In correlation with the hypothesis, this may indicate that the proper skills for building with adobe bricks have fallen by the wayside and that proper training and information about this construction method might help render the negative perception positive.

The perception that earth houses signify poverty, as weil as that it can be perceived as old-fashioned, should be taken into consideration. The South African Govemment has an important role to play in this regard. The diversity and ability of earth construction to adapt to contemporary architeeture could be utilized much more effectively in govemment and sem i govemment initiatives. If the commitment towards sustainable development is to be taken seriously at all, the importance of earth construction must not be overlooked. Building high profile buildings all over the country will be a means to show that the negative attitudes on earth architecture can be changed.

Acknowledgements This paper derives it8 findings from a research project funded by SANPAD (South Africa - Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development ) Staff and students at the TUE - Annelies van Bronswijk, Kees Doevendans, Wolf Schijns, Tamara Derksen and Michiel v/der Velden.

Staff and students at the UFS Annelie de Jager, Maxie Pretorius, Kate Smit, France1la Hunt, Radinka Willemse and Riana Hugo.

Gerhard Bosman, Petria Smit & Das Steyn The many nameless friendly respondents that opened their gates and doors to shared and talked with us in expectation of a better home for all.

References Diedericks, M. (200 I). The planner and local economic development.

Bloemfontein: University ofthe Free State.

Du Plessis, C. (ed.). (2002). Agenda 21 for Sustainable Construction in Developing Countries. A discussion document. Pretoria: CSIR Building and Construction Technology.

Du Plessis, C. (2003). Analysing the sustainability of human settlements in South Africa - Challenges and methods. Conference: Technology and Management for Sustainable Building, 26-30 May 2003.

Fransen, H. and Cook, M. (1965). The old houses ofthe Cape. Cape Town: A.A.


Gerneke, G. (1992). The return to Earth. Architecture SA, March + April 1992 (part 1); May + June 1992 (part 2); July August 1992 (part 3).

Greig, D. (1971). A guide to architecture in South Africa. Cape Town: Howard.

Henerson, ME et al. (1987). How to measure attitudes. London: Sage Houben, H. & Guillaud, H. (1994). Earth construction - a comprehensive guide.

London: Intermediate Technology Publications Labuschagne, E. (1998). From trekboer to builder. Architecture of the Transvaal.

Pretoria: University ofSouth Africa.

Leedy, P.D. & Omroy, J.E. (2001). Practical research: Planning and design.

Seventh edition. New Jersey: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Oppenheim, A.N. (1992). Questionnaire design, interviewing and attitude measurement. London: Continuum.

Pithouse, R (2009) A progressive Policy without progressive politics: Lessons from the failure to implement 'Breaking New Ground' Town and Regional Planning Special edition: Reflections on the unfolding of South Africa's2004 Housing Programme 'Breaking New Ground'.

Special edition No 54 May 2009.

Pretorius, A. (1997). Our threatened heritage. Pretoria: Milnerton.

Steyn, 11 (ed.). (2009) Research Report A South African Renaissance:

acceptability of sustainable, high quality, earth constructed, public and private buildings to support local sustainable economic development.

Published by Department of Urban and Regional Planning: University Free State, South Africa.

The Digest of South African Architecture. (2000). A review of the work completed in 1999. Centre Alliance Fram;aise de Mitchell's Plain.

Walton, J. (1952). Homesteads and villages of South Africa. Pretoria: JL van Schaik Ltd.

Sustainable Arehiteeture and Urban Development 341

Sustainable Architecture and Food Production:

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