South Africa Trip Photos

So far, my trip to South Africa is going great. I won’t have the opportunity to write much here until after I return in July, but I thought I would share a few highlight photos.

Our studio class is examining housing and economic issues in a small town about two hours from Cape Town called McGregor. Its boosters claim the town is the “best preserved 19th century town” in the Western Cape, however it is also facing a serious housing crisis.

The town sits nestled in a mountain valley:

Here’s are the five studio team members, as well as some students who have been working with the South African Heritage Resources Agency to document the town history:
Group Photo - McGregor

McGregor is something of a mecca for so-called “earth building” technology in South Africa built using adobe or cobb. This home was being built by a local business owner using local materials (the earth is from the site) and local people with experience in the building techniques.

Earth Building

This man is stomping cobb:

Cobb Building

These are historic homes, perhaps 100 years old:

McGregor Traditional Homes

Here is a government-built toilet, shared by the residents of 5 tin shacks (not seen, to the right) and the home to the left. These residents are lucky, many shack residents have no plumbing whatsoever.
McGregor Bathroom

In McGregor, perhaps a quarter of the total population live in tin shacks and pay roughly $20 a month to the land owner as rent. Millions more live in massive shantytowns surrounding Cape Town, Johannesburg, and other South African cities. (More on this later)

We worked with the students to survey the community and consider the design and location for new government-subsidized housing:

After spending a week in McGregor, we have returned to Cape Town to start work on the report.



Cape Town

We took the train to Simonstown to see the famous African penguins:


African Penguins


As well as took a drive around the peninsula to visit the Cape of Good Hope.

Simon's Peak Pass

Cape Point


Author: Rob Goodspeed


  1. Are you guys having fun? I hope so. Make sure to give me the low-down when you return. -E

    PS – I so do NOT envy you if you had to use those toilets!

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