Zulu Rondovel Reimagined

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Plans & Renderings

Zulu Rondovel Reimagined

Roger Bennett Architect

Inspired by the Zulu rondovel (“round house”) of South Africa, traditionally made with materials locally found in raw form, reimagined for an urban setting in Los Angeles.

Conceptual Idea Only


8 residents / 4 bedrooms

$1,625 / resident

Medium Term (1-10 years)

1 days offsite 20 days onsite

To implement and build from the existence of what is already available to the homeless. To make use of what has been started and make it more acceptable by everyone, including the homeless. The concept isn’t for architects and politicians. It is to legitimize the way homelessness is evolving. It is a nudge to further evolve what has been built from what most of us throw away. The physical approach is similar to the Zulu rondovel(“round house”). Instead of mud,grass, and stucco, curved metal composite panels or MCP’s with screened images of their environment. All of us live with these images and call them blight. Why not take the curse away?

At least to start with. The curved MCP’s demonstrated include shelters for 1-2 persons and up to 8-9 people with the clustered units. The walls can be arranged according to the physical opportunities on hand: empty lots,disused spaces,under overpasses,and in the left-over spaces of urban areas. The walls can sit on plastic, temporary road material that rests on drainage gravel. With a radius of 5′-7″ each half circle can stack easily for trucking. Sanitary facilities can be incorporated or be close by.

  • Quoted Total Cost: $13,000
  • Planned Occupancy (1 person/bed): 8 beds
  • Estimated Cost Per Bed: $1,625
  • Quote’s Total Interior Square Footage: 404 sqft
  • Quote Includes # Units: 8 units
  • Used for Shelter Before: Not used as shelter yet
  • Readiness: Conceptual Idea Only
  • In Stock / Ready to Ship Today: No
  • Manufacturer Identified and Available: N/A
  • Setup Speed: 17 days
  • Setup Difficulty: Moderate (prefab assembly)
  • % Built Onsite: 50% – Some Prefab Parts Assembled On-Site/Flat Pack
  • Portability: Portable (after major disassembly)
  • Intended Use of Shelter: Medium Term (1-10 years
Design Advantages Simplicity- Buildable in 3 days with 2 men
Manufacturer Identified No
Used for shelter in the U.S.? No
Prior use examples not used before
Prior use comments not used before
Building experience comments
Intended use cases
R-value (insulation) 11-20
Risk Category N/A – Temporary Use
Roof Load (PSF) 30
Indoor Clearance Height (ft) 10
Waterproof? Yes
Professional Engineer Stamp? minimal
Conforms to ICC’s Temporary Structure and Uses Code n/a
Other Structural / Safety Comments Simple structure. The curved walls resist seismic.
Sustainability / Green Building Certifications? All recyclable
Materials Used / Made of:
Disassembly / Assembly Comments: 2 men during one day
Ideal Mounting Surfaces Other
Anchoring Process May not be necessary. Otherwise two or three spiral stakes into the ground


Item Cost ($) Notes
Materials $3,000
Labor $1,200
Delivery $300
Budget Total $4,500
Total Per Bed $563
Total Per Unit $563
Add-on Items
Check all items that are not included in your quote (i.e. would need to be quoted by outside party) Lighting, Electrical distribution, HVAC, Toilet / Washrooms
List outside vendors needed to execute (including any architects and engineers) MCP fabrication Silk screen Assemblers
Possible Delivery Method(s) Regular-sized trailer
Design (days) 10
Production (days) 5
Site Prep (days) 1
Delivery (days) 1
Total (days) 17
Amount in Inventory (#) minimal
Production Capacity 15 units per truck
Production Location Los Angeles

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