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House Selina |  indlu selinah

Port Elizabeth, South Africa / gqeberha, emzantsi afrika

2020 - 21


Client: Gogo Selinah
Partners in Charge/ Lead: Alisha Raman, Kevin Kimwelle
Collaborators/ Team: Sarvesh Singh, Hlwati Sigqibo, Living Lab,

Indalo World, Isuzu Motors
Location: Port Elizabeth

Status: Built/ Occupied

Tags: innovation, indigenous, steel, wood, concrete, alternate, culture, urban, sustainable, housing + interiors

Is building with waste the future of upcycling?

Gogo Selinah grew up in an era where Apartheid was prevalent in South Africa. It is the reason she has lived in a dilapidated house for so long. But she has a different vision for her granddaughter, Michelle.

Our response was to preserve the essence of social history embedded in the old house while designing a new story.
We were inspired by Lego Toys for systems thinking. Industries like automobiles and refrigeration see the production of a lot of scraps. Usually thrown away, trash can be powered anew by Circular Economics.  Imagine building in a lego-like manner with such waste but at an architectural scale.
These principles guided our remote collaboration for pre-fabrication and easy assembly on-site, all through the COVID Pandemic.

Juxtaposing the old and new in a conversation
house selinah

(clockwise) 1. Juxtaposing the old and new in a conversation 2. gable roof opens up to invite light into the house 3. waste is cycled up through information modelling into the intricate design of a home for posterity.


1. life unfolds in an intimate new kitchen 2. all food to be cooked is cultivated within precinct as urban agriculture

The new volume latches onto the old space under one roof punctuated in acrylic to invite daylight within. Clerestories secure the whole interiors while boosting cross-ventilation. Even old car seats reincarnate as sofas.An amalgam of social heritage and innovation, every detail in the house celebrates up-cycling. It matures into an institution of cultural justice rooted in the humble poetry of everyday life.

Field Notes

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