Building a better everyday life for everyone


The cornerstone of our construction and design company is our unique, environmentally friendly, durable, yet affordable building method.

We aim to be the most innovative building company in Africa and our team works hard to deliver a product of worldwide quality.

We have a strong focus on research & development, environmental sustainability and cutting edge design.

Our Team: a wealth of experience in the housing market and design

Joel Baur - director. CITRA: Construction company
Managing Director

Joel Baur

Joel loves reading and spending time with his family in nature. He even takes pleasure in sitting in traffic without plans or interruptions.

He is passionate about changing the everyday lives of people and communities through the considered, high-quality design of houses and neighbourhoods.

Some important career milestones as an architects are:
- Gaining work experience at architectural firm Roger Boltshauser in Zurich,
- Co-founding Atelier Manzana,
- Studying at ETH Zurich (Master’s in Architecture) and EPF Lausanne (Bachelor of Architecture)

Benno - non executive director, CITRA: Construction company
Non-Executive Director

Benno Büeler

Benno is passionate about the environment and long-term sustainability.

He has studies in mathematics and agricultural science and a PhD in modelling and solving international CO2-trade systems.

He is determined to work towards improving the quality of life of those who live in poverty. That’s why he joined CITRA – to work towards green affordable housing for everyone.

“The resources of our earth are there for everyone. We are all affected by the destruction of these resources and have a shared responsibility”.

Andreas Graf non-executive director, CITRA Construction company
Non-Executive Director

Andreas Graf

Andreas studied agricultural engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich. He has more than 15 years’ experience in development cooperation, working for different organisations in 20 countries in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa, including the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the International Federation of Red Cross and the UN.

He has a keen interest in sustainable resources, which is why, in 2010, he decided to dedicate a large part of his time to working as an independent developer and becoming the biggest driving force in the creation of CITRA.

Ernst, non-executive director, CITRA: Construction company
Non-Executive Director

Ernst Heusser

Ernst was born in Zurich, grew up in Tanzania and graduated in Switzerland as a Civil Engineer from HTL (Höhere Technische Lehranstalt). He has worked in Saudi Arabia, Greece, the UK and Switzerland and since 1991 has been residing in South Africa. In January 2019, he joined the CITRA family as a non-Executive Director.

In his own words: “I am thrilled to be part of this young, enthusiastic and competent team and that my experience in this new and innovative building technology is appreciated.”

Adrien, head of design. CITRA: Construction company
Head of Design

Adrien Gesulfo

Adrien is passionate about problem-solving through a user-centred design process, leveraging flexible and scalable complex geometry systems. He led the design effort in sustainable façade development at Zaha Hadid Architects and worked on other major computationally-designed projects.

In his free time, Adrien likes to discover new beautiful places around him and kitesurf with friends.

Michael, head of engineering. CITRA: Construction company
Head of Engineering

Michael Chikwava

Michael developed the CITRA building system and currently oversees our engineering projects and operations. He has a keen interest in community, being involved in the founding of Engineers Without Borders South Africa and The Euclid Society.

Outside the office, Michael enjoys a number of activities including chess, tennis, football, Kung Fu and regular gym visits.

Erik, quantity surveyor CITRA Construction company
Quantity Surveyor - Contracts Manager

Erik Van Heerden

Erik finished a BTech in Quantity Surveying at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2001 and has been working in construction as a quantity surveyor or contracts manager ever since.

In 2007 he walked the Spanish pilgrimage trail, the Camino de Santiago, four months before the birth of his first daughter. He dreams about the day he can return to the Camino to walk it with his wife and two daughters.

Realm, financial manager. CITRA: Construction company
Finance Manager

Realm Chitando

Realm is a key member of the team, taking good care of CITRA’s financial health. She has a BCom Accounting and PGDA from the University of Cape Town, is registered with SAIPA as a professional accountant and has years of experience in the field.

She enjoys spending quality time with family and friends, sharing a good laugh over a hearty meal and decorating for social gatherings.

Trinidad, Public relations. CITRA: Construction company
Public Relations

Trinidad Morán

With a Speech & Language Therapy background and a big passion for science, Trinidad moved to South Africa and used her skills to develop a career in communications. She has a great interest in sustainability and social development.

She loves spending time with her two little humans and friends, listening to good music, being in nature, participating in community-based activities or just trying to figure out how to travel more.

Trevor, senior foreman CITRA: Construction company
Senior Foreman

Trevor Feder

Trevor trained as a bricklayer, plasterer and tiler and has worked in Botswana, Mozambique and Johannesburg as a site foreman. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, mountain biking and swimming.
Thabo, foreman. CITRA: Construction company

Thabo Ramasola

With 15 years’ experience in construction, Thabo is CITRA’s man on site. He is as friendly as he is skilled and professional in everything he does: from plastering, bricklaying and painting to managing the workers and more.

He enjoys spending his spare time with his family.

Our History: from tonnes of coffee to an ambitious development and beyond

For 4 years, Swiss inventor, Martin Tschaggelar, together with later co-founder, Andreas Graf, were driven by the desire to help the people of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. They worked on concepts to build fast, green and affordable homes in remote locations.


CITRA Construction is born

The Swiss Ambassador allowed us to build a down-scaled show house at her residence in Pretoria.


First show-house

After a great deal of research and development, market research and tons of coffee, CITRA was founded in South Africa.


More Coffee and Research

CITRA quickly finished the R&D of the first building method.


CITRA Development

Next step in our vision became reality after a group of Swiss investors jointly purchased a large piece of land in Cape Town to be developed by CITRA.



CITRA Construction proudly received the necessary certification to build houses with our own building method for clients in South Africa.

Our Partners: passionate about design, innovation and sustainability

We work with organisations, companies and government institutions that want to create energy efficient architecture and urban design.