In 1995 Andy Horn graduated from the University of Cape Town and has built up experience in the field of ecological design. While encompassing an holistic vision, his special focus has always been on the use of local, natural, non-toxic and recycled materials such as stone, clay, sand, straw, reeds, thatch, cob, compressed earth, bottles, poles etc.
In 1998, he founded Eco Design out of a life-long concern for the rapidly degrading natural environment and widening social inequalities.
Eco Design’s first commission as an independent practice was to rebuild an old langhuis for actress Sandra Prinsloo. The project used straw bale infill construction techniques which set the tone for much of Eco Design’s subsequent work which has afforded us the opportunity to continue to explore and refine the use of natural and local materials.
With many of the older buildings built using local, natural materials, Eco Design’s experience has also lead to some historical restoration work, including several reports for the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA).
The use of natural, local materials lends itself to community participation and Eco Design has had a modus to support community development and help people to gain access to good quality housing with minimal means. Eco Design has held numerous on site workshops to train unskilled labour and owner builders.
Education has formed an integral part of the practice, whilst Eco Design is continually updating knowledge through research in the field. Andy Horn has lectured widely at conferences and has held a part time environmental lecturing post at UCT’s department of Architecture. Eco Design staff are encouraged to enrich their knowledge and skills in the environmental field
In addition to being an architectural practice, Eco design has consulted to a wide range of clients including inter alia the Department of Water Affairs, Eskom, Conservation International SA, The South African National Parks Board, International Fauna and Flora, Hantam Municipality, and Mondi Timbers.
Eco Design’s cutting edge sustainable solutions have been widely published both locally and internationally and have earned them the 2004 Sustainable Building Best Practice award for Residential Projects in the Africa Region and the Silver Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction in Africa and the Middle East 2005.