Vele Secondary School recently was announced the joint winner of the Afrisam-South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) Award for Sustainable Architecture, and was highly commended by the jury for rejuvenating the planet while uplifting people. The Vele Secondary School has been transformed from a dilapidated rural school into a pioneering community resource.
Design features of the school include rainwater harvesting with a capacity of 150,000L and 50m2 of solar panels that provide sufficient power for 80 computers. The passive and low-energy design also creates naturally-lit and ventilated classrooms. The use of local resources as building materials and local stone masons reduces the carbon footprint of the structure, and invests in the local economy.
Project wins 2010 Award for Excellence from the South African Institute of Architects
In 2010, only three buildings received Awards for Excellence which are bestowed by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) for exceptional designs every two years. The Seven Fountains Primary School in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa was one of the three projects honored with this award.
The project was commended by the SAIA for moving away from the one-size-fits-all practice of parachuting blueprint-based structures into rural areas, and allowing for the architecturally-guided emergence of a school organically connected to the community that built it and which it serves. The choice of materials for the site was informed by a skills and materials audit conducted at an early stage within the township. The jury citation noted that “sustainability on a holistic, social, economic and ecological level was well exhibited in this delightful project”.
Schools network construction
Lakeside Primary School also in KwaZulu-Natal Province was due to start construction by the end of 2010. Vele High School in a deep rural, mountainous region of the Limpopo Province of South Africa was completed in January 2011 and includes:
The winners of the second Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction from across region Africa Middle East were announced at a ceremony in Marrakech. Total prize money of USD 270,000 was presented to eleven projects that illustrated the broad scope for applying sustainable construction approaches to the built environment across public and private architecture, urban planning, and environmental remediation.Sustainable construction projects applauded across Africa Middle East »
Education is a key prerequisite of sustainable development. The goal of the project is to develop schools as community hubs and centers for lifelong learning. The Creating Learning Spaces Program conceptualizes the school becoming a community resource center which facilitates the revitalization and development of communities through training as well as demonstrations of sustainable livelihoods through energy efﬁciency, renewable-energy use, rainwater harvesting and local food production.
The training program aims at self-reliance through ownership and responsibility. In addition to the theoretical programmatic background, the project also proposes standardized layouts, schemes, materials and construction technology for the design and realization of such learning spaces. The project has been commended because of its comprehensive approach to lifelong learning in rural areas and due to the stringent involvement and commitment of the population.See more
Education is an important building block of sustainable development. The project, School infrastructure from local resources, transforms schools into community centers of lifelong learning. Here, sustainable livelihoods training can take place – energy efficiency, renewable energy use, rainwater harvesting and local food production are all part of the program.Download project entry poster (PDF, 1.97 MB) »
Project profile video of “School infrastructure from local resources” that won an Acknowledgement prize in 2008 and the …
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