02/01/2018 12:34 SAST | Updated 02/01/2018 12:34 SAST

Khayelitsha Shack Nominated For Royal Institute of British Architects Prize

The long list has been announced, and some unlikely buildings feature.

© ETH Zurich

An inspiring low-cost design that tackles the crisis in South African housing has been longlisted for the U.K.'s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Prize -- one of architecture's most prestigious awards.

The clever design uses affordable materials like corrugated iron sheeting, steel windows, plywood and hollow-core bricks to create a modern, minimalist double-storey structure, complete with balcony, living area, kitchen and bedrooms.

The Empower Shack came about when a collective of international and local architects joined forces in 2013 to find a solution to the dire conditions faced by the millions of South Africans who live in the 2,700 informal settlements across the country.

"Despite 20 years of government promises to improve the quality of housing following the end of apartheid, for many in South Africa's townships there has been little noticeable change," the architects say on their website.

"This is not to say that the South African government has not been working to meet these goals; however, the scale of the problem is so large, and with population growth and migration, the challenge is only getting greater."

At the other end of the scale, the multibillion-rand Zeitz MOCAA museum, which opened in 2017, has also being longlisted for the important prize.

Winners will be announced in December 2018.