SAOTA - South Africa
Drawings, plans, elevations
This project, still in concept phase, is located in the eastern suburb of Wallacedene, the poorest informal housing settlement in Cape Town. The brief was to design a multi-use community centre for both early childhood development and skills development training. The building needed to accommodate a number of classrooms for children between the ages of one and five, as well as a multi-function school hall to be used after school hours by members of the community. The building will belong to the community, which made it important to design a public open space where the community can interact with each other and their surrounding context. The challenge was to create something that is both secure and welcoming. The triangular site is situated on a prominent corner in the centre of the township. The building has a grand, colourful presence with a wall of children’s art fired onto ceramic tiles. While creating a secure road edge, the playfulness of the internal architecture is hinted at through the classroom facade. The built-up edges break away and lead you in, under full sight of the glazed security office. Wallacedene defies traditional design through the use of dynamic playful forms, textured materials and bright colours. The concept echoes a series of oversized building blocks, built-up and positioned around an imaginarium playground, semi-covered at the transition space between indoors and outdoors. Each classroom has direct access to the playground which has been divided into levels and zones, creating various opportunities of play for each year group rather than a simple vast open space. We have been working on a pro-bono basis which means that the project timeline inevitably suffers, but the positive feedback from the client and local authority makes working on this project very rewarding.