"Mustershack" - thinking with the object

  Map © R. Breuer

Every day, more than 2 billion people worldwide face similar challenges that come with living in economic poverty. These include, in particular, dealing with a lack of basic housing infrastructure, inadequate nutrition, crime, limited space, and/or natural forces that threaten one's home. The slums in which such a life of poverty takes place are growing exponentially. Solutions are often due to lack of resources, but also knowledge not available.


"90% of the worlds designers spend all their time addressing the problems of the richest 10% of the worlds customers" (Paul Polak).

In the context of the impromptu design we want to change the perspective and look at South Africa: What is the housing situation in the townships and what does it mean to live in a "shack" (typical informal hut)? What ideas, products and solutions could make life better/simpler here?

In cooperation with the initiatives "Hack your Shack" and "I am light", a "sample shack" will be set up as a thinking and real laboratory on the Zwischenzeitwiese at Aachener Büchel, which will serve as a basis for further thinking and developing elements to improve the living situation in the townships.

We approach the topic in a workshop together with the cooperation partners and a video call with Lwandle, a township in Cape Town, by introducing us to life in the township shack with its daily challenges. From this starting point, we will work in groups to develop various user-centered solutions that can be implemented with resources available locally (in South Africa). Spontaneous changes are to be expected, as in South Africa everything usually turns out differently than planned. The construction of the typical township hut on Büchelwiese will follow.

Design goal:

The goal of the impromptu design is, in addition to the joint construction of the sample shack, the development of applicable solutions around the shack. These could be, for example, multifunctional supply and furnishing modules, but also clever ideas for the use of the limited outdoor space through greening elements. The solutions are to be documented as step-by-step instructions and subsequently made as a open source accessible via dooiy.org so that, in perspective, many people can benefit from them. The dooiy.org platform was created by the non-profit Hack Your Shack gGmbH and makes the instructions available worldwide.


- Ability to work in a team

- enthusiasm

- Cultural curiosity and empathy

- Basic craft skills are an advantage

- Willingness to organize the necessary (upcycling) materials for your project or to bring simple tools (hammer, screwdriver and co.)                                 

Further dates:

Workshop, probably first or second weekend in May – date to be announced.

Project launch: 16.06.2023

First Session: 04.05.2023, 10:00 am kick off

Exam Date: 30.06.2023, 11:59 pm online submission;