The HRDC was set up to focus on sustainable low-cost housing in Namibia, this construction constituting its first major research project. Its scale relates to the low-income housing surrounding it, with the thatched-roofed exhibition space and cooling towers as signposts. Materials include stabilised earth bricks, rammed earth, sandbags, soil-filled tyres and cob, with recycled steel beams and corrugated metal for most of the roof. Steel-framed doors and windows were collected from scrapyards and adapted. Nature-related symbolism dominates the design, such as in the structures’ curl around the watercourse and its overlapping roofs, which refer to the ‘pangolin’, a rare Namibian scaly mammal. Passive design principles ensure energy efficiency.