Casas Melhoradas is a housing development project that seeks to improve the physical living conditions of low-income groups in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique in southeast Africa. The project develops housing typologies that utilize space more economically and develops construction methods that improve the quality and decrease the cost of housing. The project has been exhibited at Louisiana, Museum of Modern Art and published on Archdaily, as well as numerous other websites.
Maputo has a high population growth rate and the city expands rapidly horizontally with unplanned low-density urban developments and limited infrastructure provision. The project seeks to develop housing typologies that utilize space more efficiently, in order to contain the urban sprawl and use the infrastructure more economically. Thereby, the project seeks to improve mobility, improve the access to infrastructure and economize space in order to initiate a more sustainable urban development.
Multi-story housing typologies, rooted in the local socio-economic and cultural conditions are being developed and built by the project partners in collaboration with local builders. The project develops prefabricated element construction, produced locally in Maputo's slums, based on the local capacities. Thereby the project seeks to limit the waste of resources, reduce the price, reduce the duration of the construction process and improve the quality of housing.
The latest constructed prototype consists of a heavy first floor concrete base with a light two-storey wooden house on top. The prototype is a modern interpretation of the traditional “Casa de Madeira e Zinco” (typical housing type of wood and corrugated iron sheets) and “Casa de Blocos” (typical housing type of concrete blocks) with improved indoor climate. The vertical outdoor areas between the road and the house forms a social transition zone between inside and outside, where there is room for cooking, socializing and interacting with passersby.