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lena weir


at home in the city: engaging lessons in inclusion, resilience and agency of cissie gool house


old woodstock hospital, woodstock, cape town

inclusion, resilience, agency, commons


This dissertation explores the many ways in which the inhabitants of Cissie Gool House engage, practice and spatialize the commons as integral to their successes as a Community and a Home. Cissie Gool House is the inaugurated name marking the occupation of an empty hospital building in Woodstock in March 2017 by activist organization ‘Reclaim the City’. Research is undertaken to articulate the current housing status, problems and new discourse on inclusionary housing in Cape Town.

Fieldwork is undertaken, in and amongst the Cissie Gool Community in gaining a thorough understanding of the inhabitation of Cissie Gool House and its transition from hospital wards and corridors into homes and streets and transformation of a group of 900 individuals from all walks of life into a community.

The theoretical underpinning of this investigation bring into question how we might harness this commons in the envisioning of a future inner city housing that is inclusive, resilient and independently managed. It challenges current access to housing, methods of construction and provision(particularity our role as architect) and alternative ownership.


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