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.

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



Contribution to the book AM Perspectives

I’m very pleased to have contributed to the book AM Perspectives: Research in additive manufacturing for architecture and construction..
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New Design Studio at the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design !

Starting the design Studio “Embracing Imperfection” with two hands-on workshops.
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COC Coin design

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3D printing with local river clay – Part 1

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DigitalFUTURES Talk: Clay Printing in Architecture

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Circular Reception Desk for the Johan Cruijff ArenA

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3D printing with Robots

3D printing experimentation at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS). Read more »

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Official opening of Sundaymorning@EKWC


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Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop in Buffalo – New York


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Interview with WASP for

WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) was founded in 2012 by Massimo Moretti. The project focusses on the development of 3D printing by researching materials and 3D print systems, based on the desire to leave behind a better world and on the trust that technology will make this happen. Read more »

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3D printed shelter


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

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New animation for the Hospice

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Wonderlab “24 Hour City – All Inclusive”

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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

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First Strike of the Commemorative Coin.

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Studio for Unsolicited Architecture

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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 »

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 »

Detached house in Almere

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Urban care homes with rural quality

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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?”
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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 »

New square for Amsterdam West

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Floating sustainable urbanism

FINALIST in the 2nd Advanced Architecture Contest
WINNER in the World Architecture Community Awards 2009
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Green masterplan for Cairo

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Digitally prefabricated pavilion

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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

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Unguided Urban 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.
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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

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