Suburban Metabolism: A Project for a Suburb of the Future

Client Location Year Suburb Size           Population Programme Status
None Plumstead, Cape Town 2012 4 719 870m² 18 860 Urban Infrastructure, Mixed Use, Residential Thesis

How can the vitality of suburbia be steered by self-sufficiency and progress from a state of linear to cyclic metabolism?

The current form of Cape Town’s urban development is grossly unsustainable – low density suburbs are built on the principle of one family on one plot of land. This continuously sprawling pattern of urban development puts tremendous strain on the infrastructural needs of the city – water supply across the Cape is limited; huge amounts of energy is consumed; volumes of solid wastes are disposed of; and waste water treatment works located in the south east and north of the city are currently working at limited capacity. 

(Sub)urban Metabolism: A Project for the Suburb of the Future was a Master of Architecture thesis project that focused on the symbiosis between suburban and natural environments. By regarding the suburb as an organism, consisting of autonomous parts operating together, the intention of the project was to answer how an architectural intervention could initiate a shift from a homogenous to heterogeneous (sub)urban environment that could support multiple renewable fuel sources. In this way the suburb begins to behave like a micro-city, able to recycle its own waste, purify its own water, generate its own energy, and connect to other suburbs and the city.