Sustainable African Metropolis (SAM)

‘The Sustainable African Metropolis’ (SAM) is a research project about sustainable development of the future African Metropolis.
The project is initiated by the architecture office Blok Kats van Veen Architects and Erno Langenberg (Architect, Researcher, ELstudio). At the moment they collaborate for the project  with Eva Vrouwe (Urban and Economic Geographer), Emma van Sandick (Senior researcher/ advisor Sustainable Innovation, TNO) and Jeroen Brouwer (Research Scientist Innovation and Environment, TNO).

Global population will increase from nearly 7 billion now to more than 10 billion in 2100, a growth of over 40%. A growth which will take place almost entirely in the non-Western world and is concentrated, due to the migration from the countryside, in explosively growing cities.

The greatest population growth will take place on the African continent. Cities here are already the fastest growing in the world. Faster then Chinese cities they develop to metropoles with a population over 15 million inhabitants (Lagos, Cairo and Kinshasa). At the same time the economy is growing as well; Sub-Saharan economies are growing at 5% rate and growth rate is expected to increase in 2012 to nearly 6 percent1.

How is the continent dealing with this growth? Many plans are drawn up at the moment; both  master plans for grand Western like new towns and plans for bottom-up improvements of the informal cities. All relatively unknown to the Western world.

With the SAM project we aim to uncover the current urban developments in the emerging African cities and publish these to a worldwide audience of professionals in order to learn, and through exchange of knowledge together help building Africa’s future in a sustainable manner.

Our focus lies on the future and sustainable developments in architecture and urbanism in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and how designers, planners can contribute to this development. The result will be a publication; a collection of relevant stories from the contemporary African emerging metropolis, which together show the current developments and sketch possible sustainable futures. The publication should serve to increase knowledge about the subject both in the African continent as the rest of the world and serve as a base for interdisciplinary collaborations to work on a sustainable future.

Key part of the research are the interviews to reveal the most current information. Since the subject of the sustainability of the metropolis is a complex issue, we want to  conduct interviews with a wide – interdisciplinary- range of professionals involved in the development of the city. Amongst others this will be designers, engineers, developers, policy makers and politicians. In this way we get an overview of the tasks at hand.

The project consist of three phases. The first will be the inventory of the environmental challenges of the Sub-Saharan African cities and possible directions for future development. In the second phase, based on the first inventory, we will choose several relevant African metropolis to research in depth. At the end of 2013, in phase three, we will collect the articles based on the interviews which will be published during the whole project and assemble them into one publication.

The kick-off of the project will be 3, 4 and 5 November at the international conference African Perspectives 2011 in Casablanca. The first series of articles from Casablanca will be published by the end of 2011 in print and digital media, in three languages: Dutch, English and French.

At the official opening of Sundaymorning@EKWC


3D printed column at the grand opening of the Sundaymorning@EKWC / European Ceramic Workcentre in Oisterwijk. Read more »

Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop in Buffalo New York


A workshop program dedicated to the experimentation of large-scale applications for ceramic components Read more »

Cove Park Residency

3D printing clay at Cove Park Residency in Scotland. Read more »

Print&Burn 3D printing with clay & more


Print& Burn; a continuation of my recent research into 3D printing with clay at the European Ceramic Work Centre. Read more »


In order to stimulate the discussion about large-scale 3D printing, I started, which is a combination of a blog, Linkedin-discussion group and a Facebook page: Read more »

Mapping 20 years of 3D printing in Architecture


Last years we have seen a boom of projects, researches and other initiatives in the field of 3d printing related to architecture. In order to have an overview of what is going on and where I decided to collect all projects I came across in a database and plot them on a time line relating them to a location on the world map. Read more »

Winner COTY Award 2015


Vrede van Utrecht fiver wins Historically Most Significant Coin of the Year Award 2015 & the public COTY vote. Read more »

3D printed shelter


Proposal for a shelder build with 3D printed ceramic blocks. Read more »

Publication in “New Portable Architecture”

Landscape Design_cover_B

Publication of the Mobex pavilion in the book “New Portable Architecture”. Read more »

Digital tools for Cape Town


Working with DASUDA on the Wingfield location as a case study for a demonstration of an integrated approach with new digital tools on water and traffic. Read more »

3D printing clay @EKWC

Working at Sundaymorning@ekwc; exploring the possibilities of 3D printing ceramics for architectural use. Read more »


Working at Sundaymorning@ekwc; exploring the possibilities of digital manufacturing ceramics in architecture. Read more »

Renovated familiy home

Renovation and extension of a former farm into a contemporary family home. Read more »

Invitation: presentation @EKWC

Final presentation Residency @EKWC Giovanni Dalessi (NL) / Drew Ippoliti (US) / Erno Langenberg (NL) Read more »

New animation for the Hospice

Chuck Bekker made a nice 3d animation for the Hospice Project in Zambia. Read more »

Wonderlab “24 Hour City – All Inclusive”

Elstudio participates in the Wonderlab exhibition in Vienna From August 7th till August 25th  the Alte Halle at Architekturzentrum Wien. Read more »

National Archives South Sudan

Shortlisted design for the National Archives in South Sudan chosen for the last round by the Council of Ministers. Read more »

Commemorative Coin Treaty of Utrecht

To commemorate the  300 year Treaty of Utrecht, the Royal Dutch Mint issued a special 5€ coin. Elstudio made the design. Read more »

First Strike of the Commemorative Coin.

First strike of the Commemorative Coin Treaty of Utrecht, the last coin with Queen Beatrix depicted, on the 11th of April 2013 in Utrecht was widely covered in the media. Read more »

Publication on African Architecture

Publication Hospice Chipata in this collection essays on African architecture by Mathias Agbo Jr Read more »

Studio for Unsolicited Architecture

For the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture team New UTility researched to which extent a New Energy Landscape (harvesting renewable energy in an urban setting) could be a solution to revive Business Parks with a large amount of vacancy. For a test case they took the famous Amsterdam Amstel III area. Read more »

Offering of the bid “New Utility”

Preparation for the presentation 2012-09-11 @ NAi.

The New Utility bid is offered to Alderman Maarten van Poelgeest (Municipality of Amsterdam) during a closed session at the town hall in Amsterdam. The event is documented on film for the presentation “Showcase for Unsolicited Architecture” at the NAI in Rotterdam on 11 September 2012.

Read more »

SAM research kick-off in Casablanca

Robert van Kats presenting the Sustainable African Metropolis (SAM) project at the African Perspectives 2011 in Casablanca. Read more »

Sustainable African Metropolis (SAM)

‘The Sustainable African Metropolis’ (SAM) is a research project about sustainable development of the future African Metropolis. Read more »

Debate evening: “De Waardering”


ELstudio co-organized the first evening in a series of debates about future perspectives for creatives. Read more »

Copy & paste…. the “7 plots” in the news

The photograph of our project “7 plots” in Almere keeps on popping up in the newspapers, even on TV !

Read more »

Mobex revisited

Visit to the MOBEX in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht to see the exhibition ‘A Falling Horizon’ from Heidi de Gier.

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Sustainable hospice building in Chipata Zambia.

Design for a hospice for the palliation of terminally ill patient’s in Chipata, Zambia. Read more »

Publication MOBEX

Publication documenting 5 years of events which toke place in the Mobile Exhibition Space (mobex) from 2005-2010 Read more »

Detached house in Almere

7 houses on 7 adjacent plots designed by 7 architect. Elstudio has designed one of the seven detached houses in the Homeruskwartier in Almere. Read more »

Urban care homes with rural quality

City Farm is a concept for housing combined with care; living in groups in an urban environment with rural quality. Care is customized and shared with the group. Read more »

How to defines the shape of a farm?

2nd prize in the competition “‘Een boerderijenfamilie voor de Overdiepse Polder: eenheid in verscheidenheid” for the project “Wat maakt een boerderij?”
Read more »

Sustainable houseboat add-on

Honorable Mention in the competition “Duurzaam Drijvend Wonen” for E-Vlot; a concept for autarkic units which aim to increase self-sustainability of houseboats. Read more »

Publication in Urban Environment Design #40

Publication in the Chinese magazine “Urban Environment Design #40”. Read more »

Publication in Self.Fab house

The project Self.urb is published in the Actar publication Self-Fab House.

Read more »

New square for Amsterdam West

The Open Monument takes over the August Allebéplein creating a platform in the form of a monumental plinth, the plinth is the square and the square is the plinth. Read more »

Floating sustainable urbanism

FINALIST in the 2nd Advanced Architecture Contest
WINNER in the World Architecture Community Awards 2009
Self.Urb focus on the possibility of building extensively over water, tackling the current issue of the raising sea level, in an environmental manner. It creates a ‘floating city’. Read more »

Green masterplan for Cairo

“Ramses Park” is a masterplan for a sustainable redevelopment of the Ramses square area in Cairo. A sustainable city needs green. Located at the base of the Nile delta, Cairo has good soil for building parks. Read more »

Digitally prefabricated pavilion

The paVilion is a proposal for the Art Fund Pavilion Competition. The paVilion is constructed with the FACIT Building System, ‘a new digital method for fabrication using computer controlled machines’. Read more »

Publication in 44 young international architects

Publication ELstudio in: 44 young international architects; A+ ArquitecturaPlus, October 2008 Read more »

Self sufficient sustainable kiosks

Honorable mention
Date: 2008/6/9
Subject: Design idea competition kiosks Pastoor Joorenplein
To: BNA Kring West Brabant
Cc: “JCDecaux” Read more »

Parametric facade design

ELstudio designs the parametric computer generated  facade for a building complex in Herning, one of the fastest growing cities in Denmark. Read more »

Unguided tours Berlin

Unguided tours / Transit Lounge, Part II / Berlin
Project by Isabel Cordeiro / Hugo Moline Read more »

Sustainable research station on the Seychelles

The Aldabra Research Station is a scientific unit devoted to the study of the uniqueness of the ecological and biological conditions of Aldabra.
Read more »

Villa Almera!

One of the first things people do after buying a house in the suburbs is to fence their plot so they can truly enjoy a taste of the ‘countryside lifestyle’. Read more »

Mobile exhibition pavilion Mobex

The Mobex is a mobile exhibition pavilion touring different locations in the Volgerlanden, a new housing development under-construction in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht ( Vinex location). Read more »

Out-desk…working in nature

Buitenbureau (out-desk) was designed for the exhibition ‘Protopark II: NUT’ in the Siegerpark Amsterdam. Read more »

Local food production: “jus de rotonde”

Useful art at the roundabouts in Overbetuwe.
We propose to transform all roundabouts in town into little apple orchards.Apples from these trees will be used to make local “jus de rotonde” a new drink from local pressing. Read more »

Consumption Required !

‘Consumption Obligatory!’ is an art project which exposes the boundaries imposed by the rules that control behavior in public space, stretching them till the limits of the reasonable. Read more »

Floating exhibition pavilions

Honorable mention in the competition ‘Casa Casla’ Almere
2×4=24 is a design project for two floating exhibition pavilions in Almere. One of the pavilions is meant to be used as an architecture exhibition space, the other as an archaeological exhibition space. Read more »