Empower Shack at Galerie Eva Presenhuber

Empower Shack at Galerie Eva Presenhuber

Can art and architecture lend a voice to segments of the population that go unheard? The Empower Shack exhibition at Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zürich, supported by Swisspearl, presented the ongoing collaboration between U-TT, South African NGO Ikhayalami (‘My Home’), Transsolar, Brillembourg Ochoa Foundation, Meyer Burger, the BLOCK ETH ITA Research Group, and video company. The Empower Shack team was established as a response to conventional approaches in dealing with urban informality, which are unsustainable and painstakingly slow in meeting the immediate needs of the vast majority of South Africa’s urban poor. With its roots in a research, design, and build workshop aimed at developing an innovative, replicable, affordable and sustainable shack prototype for Cape Town’s Khayelitsha (the third largest township in South Africa), the exhibition used film, photography, drawings, painting, and large-scale architectural installations to explore the complexity of living conditions in informal settlements, and the social role of architects in helping to address the economic, ecological and security challenges faced by residents.

Additional Details:

Exhibition Coordinators: Scott Lloyd, Daniel Schwartz

Exhibition Team: Alexis Kalagas, Giulia Celentano, Hans Rufer, Ilaria Riscassi, Marcel Aubert

Handpainted Typography: Lea Becker

Collaborators: Natalya Critchley, Martin Andersson, Adam Walker

Support: Swisspearl, ETH Zürich D-ARCH, Zumtobel, Meyer Burger

Press Coverage:

“Urban-Think Tank Develops Housing Prototype for South African Slums,” Dezeen, 2014

“Die Chancen des Urbanen Wildwuchses” Greenpeace Magazine, 2014

“urban think tank introduces the empower shack to the slums of western cape,” DesignBoom, 2014