The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction has published “Tsoga Environmental Center – Community center in South Africa” – a further volume in its international series of monographs showcasing outstanding examples of sustainable construction in practice. The book explains how the Tsoga Environmental Center respects the Rio Agenda of balanced social, environmental, and economic performance, and at the same time defines a new vernacular architectural language and also provides a model of sustainable building in low-income communities.
Tsoga Environmental Center is a community-service and recycling facility situated in a poverty-stricken informal settlement of Cape Town where the need for a normal community center pales in comparison to widespread socioeconomic despair. The design team led by Alastair Rendall of ARG Design, Cape Town applied a formal methodology for sustainable construction to achieve far more than just the creation of a new building. They shaped the project to employ local people, teach them trade skills, show them a way to build using environmentally responsible materials, establish local sources of affordable building materials, stimulate the local economy, and give the neighborhood hope and dignity – improving quality of life in surprising ways.
In 2005 Tsoga Environmental Center won the Holcim Awards Bronze for the region Africa Middle East in the first competition for sustainable construction projects initiated by the Holcim Foundation. By the following year, Tsoga Environmental Center had become a standard stop on Cape Town tour itineraries of many overseas universities and international cultural and educational organizations. In 2007 the building received a CIA Award for Architecture from the Cape Institute for Architecture, South Africa.
Tsoga Environmental Center – Community center in South Africa
Daniel Wentz Published by Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, 2008
80 pages, 101 illustrations, 15 x 21 cm, in English
Following five regional competitions, 15 Award-winning projects including the Tsoga Environmental Center and Local Sustainability Catalyst in Cape Town, South Africa, will now compete in the first global Holcim Awards competition for sustainable construction projects. The global phase of the competition showcases the best entries from more than 1500 submissions from 118 countries, and encourages innovative, future-oriented and tangible approaches within the building and construction industry.Holcim Awards competition goes global » Pour en savoir plus (French) » Más información (Spanish) » Leia mais (Portuguese) » Lesen Sie mehr (German) » Per saperne di piú (Italian) » 更多详情 (Chinese) »
Third prize of USD 25,000 went to the Tsoga Environmental Center and Local Sustainability Catalyst in Cape Town, South Africa by a team led by architect and urban designer Alastair Francis Rendall of Cape Town, South Africa. The project was selected for convincingly presenting a vision of community self-sufficiency.
Head of the Holcim Awards Jury for Africa Middle East, Daniel Irurah said the project focuses on provision of food gardens, nurseries, compositing and domestic waste recycling: “The project is significant for promoting new jobs and skills transfer throughout the local population and thereby empowering the community’s decision-making capacities to improve the quality of life,” he said.Africa Middle East sustainable construction projects receive prizes in regional Holcim Awards » Pour en savoir plus (French) »
The work is worthy of distinction in that it convincingly calls for a vision of community self-sufficiency. Most notable is the effort to catalyze sustainable livelihood in the region. Fostering environmental stewardship, the project is intended to serve as a specimen case study in ecologically sound construction practices for the region, especially in terms of tectonic principles and material choices that are responsive to socio-economic needs of a vulnerable culture.
The project is also significant in that it promotes the creation of new jobs and skills transfer throughout the local population, thereby empowering the community’s decision-making capacities to improve the quality of life. A sensitive ethical position is thus forwarded, one that emphasizes collectively driven design processes. Contextually, the selection of indigenous materials as well as strategies for addressing passive thermal control and day lighting have yielded a design which can be constructed, operated, and maintained by the community with minimal external, technical interventions.
Provisions for water conservation waste facilitation, as well as rainwater harvesting are among other outstanding achievements of a scheme that promises to greatly enhance the vitality of local culture and the environment.See more
This project takes us to Cape Town, South Africa, and forms the nucleus of an effort to promote sustainability in a context marked by poverty, unemployment, and environmental degradation. It is conceived as a local catalyst for sustainable development. The proposed scheme is meant to heighten awareness of the importance of ecosystems and energy conservation in the framework of a reinvigorated social network.
These measures are spearheaded by a community-based education agency whose main goal is to design processes that help create jobs, improve environmental conditions, and instruct the local population on ways to stimulate their economic wellbeing. All materials used for construction are indigenous, as are the techniques for building. These are deployed in a sophisticated manner and satisfy the aspiration toward modernization while showing sensitivity to traditional values.Download project entry poster (PDF, 9.35 MB) »See more
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