Architecture students build a school in South Africa
After 50 days construction - and more than a year of preparation and fundraising - students from the school of Architecture and Built Environment successfully completed a sustainable nursery school for Jouberton, an impoverished township in South Africa.
On land donated by global mining group Anglo Gold Ashanti, the School joined forces with Education Africa, a charity working to improve access to education in South Africa, to develop and build the facility for pupils aged two to six years old.
For me this project has brought to light what architecture should be about. I am passionate about this project, the people and what can be achieved here.
Sam Critchlow, 2nd Year student who worked on the project
180 students were asked to work up initial designs for the school as part of their Bachelor of Architecture and MEng Architecture and Environmental design course. Will Gowland's design was eventually singled out for its inherent properties of fluidity and motion, and reflections of the playful movement of a child.
The design for the nursery school was definitely very adventurous for a student design and build project. However its unique concept captivated the local people and inspired an amazing community spirit.
Building in South Africa was such a fantastic experience, made so much more memorable and rewarding by the local people.
This project far exceeded all my expectations of not only what a group of students can achieve, but how a single building can inspire a community.
Will Gowland, Architecture
The team as a whole developed the designs, as well as raising the £75,000 needed to build the school. The University's Annual Fund Grants Programme - which has distrubuted over £1 million since it began in 2007 - provided a third of the total. Cash was also raised by students through raffles, sports and social events.
This project will make a dramatic difference to the education and development of disadvantaged children in South Africa. The current pre-school is housed in a dilapidated shack and the proposed new facility will create fantastic opportunities for the children and enable community outreach activities.
In addition, this is a unique chance for our students to enhance their own professional skills and personal development by making a significant difference to the lives of those less fortunate than themselves.
Professor Tim Heath, Chair in Architecture and Urban Design
It is hoped that students from The School of the Built Environment will work with Education Africa every year on a different sustainable building project. Students have worked with both academic and professional tutors on the project as part of their assessed coursework. Find out more by visiting the Jouberton Nursery Project website.