Anchoring : Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This paper takes ·its name from a publication by Steven Holi. Also entitled Anchoring, Holl writes that architecture and building are 'ground' or 'anchored' to their specific site. He states that the relationship between architecture and site should be more than purely functional - there should be a poetic, a metaphysical · link. This thesis started with an interest in a very specific site, the informal settlement of lmizamo Yethu in Hout Bay which is-located on a steep slope of an old forestry site. Despite its great location, new houses built to replace the informal shack are not 'ground' to site and few communal facilities exist to give people a sense of belonging. Anchoring This is an exploration of anchoring in architecture. Firstly, it is about the anchoring of community through public spaces and communal facilities. Secondly, it is about the anchoring of the individual through buildings, which can impart a sense of belonging and attachment to a specific place. Lastly, it is also about the physical anchoring of buildings to their specific sites. The document is divided into three main sections, roughly corresponding to the three . above-mentioned ideas about anchoring. Section A deals with the issue of Squatting. Its aim is· simply to understand the issue of squatting in Imizamo Yethu in a greater context: globally, historically and physically. Section B, Anchoring, is an exploration into 'site', and the special conditions that emerge at the point where buildings meet the ground, with a focus on threshold spaces and their importance in architecture. Intervening, the final section, puts some of the ideas and principles learnt through my research to the test. It is a study and implementation of threshold spaces within the squatter community of lmizamo Yethu.