Thesis Thursday: Utopia of the Third World

Thesis Thursday is an architectural series showcasing the work produced by the UCT M.Arch (prof) graduates of 2013. These projects tackle a number of issues in vast contexts spread throughout Cape Town, ranging from diminutive park follies to massive desalination plants. M.Arch theses, on one hand; are infamous for exhibiting ideas that simply serve as provocative visions of infinite possibilities. On the other hand, they display imaginative approaches to somewhat enigmatic urban/social issues …… You decide.


Ruvimbo Moyo

This proposal is an exploration of a prototypical ‘Utopian‘ housing development. It offers an innovative look at quarry rehabilitation in the mining industry and explores the creation of viable communities in this context. Through this process, it illustrates the power of innovative architecture in the transformation of current African conditions of poverty and inadequate housing.

Figure 5

The primary objective was the development of a prototype that could be adapted to rejuvenate abandoned quarries. This particular exploration took place along the Great Dyke; a geological feature that is a Y-shaped lopolith forming an extended spine of igneous intrusions across Zimbabwe.

Model 1

Considering topography on the site, the architectural quality was achieved through contour line extrusions. These start forming routes, access, direction and boundary. The contours gently touch the landscape.

Render 1


The public zone will be located at the rim of the quarry allowing for over-flowing growth. The private zone would be the housing units within the terraces of the quarry to limit the population. These elements will be organized so that passive-surveillance is possible and within walking distance. The proposed quarry settlement will have an average population of 300.


The analysis of low-cost housing is mandatory in the advancement of Africa. As we move forward, we need to re-think the current urban conditions. If we work towards new proposals, it will create an architecture that is a direct reflection of the transformative potential in ideas, policies and constitutions that Africa holds.

Render 3

This project aimed to criticize economically-driven developments in rural Africa that neglect pertinent issues on the continent. In the creation of social housing, it challenges the policy driven architecture that has failed to grow beyond colonial ideals.


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