CPUT Electrical Engineering Faculty Building

Bellville, Cape Town

 

The CPUT Electrical Engineering Faculty needed its activities across various campuses to be condensed into a single, dedicated building on its Bellville campus.

 

Jacobs Parker proposed a contemporary interpretation of the campus’ signature facebrick, neo-classical architecture. This was achieved by creating a free standing, massive facebrick façade, similar in form, proportion and material to the surrounding context. The façade creates a colonnade, serves as a screen to shade the glass behind and provides opportunities for balconies facing the pedestrian mall.

 

The pedestrian mall is echoed internally in the form of a circulation spine which has several spaces leading off it. One such space is a triple volume social space which is visually accessible from the exterior pedestrian mall. This space houses student services, a café, seating areas and informal study and groupworking areas, with staff offices and bridges ‘floating’ in the volume above.

 

This dynamic, cross programmed space contributes to the making of a ‘networked environment’ conducive to learning and representative of the progressive nature of the faculty.

 

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Harmony Primary School

Lotus River, Cape Town

 

Jacobs Parker architects was commissioned by the Western Cape Government to design and implement a new school to replace the current prefabricated structures.

 

Given the limited site size, design concept is proposed which enables efficient phasing of the construction without interrupting the functioning of the school.

 

The classrooms are arranged in a series of clusters, creating pedestrian-scaled courtyards between them. The HOD offices are strategically located in these courtyards, to ensure clear visibility and surveillance at all times.

 

The school field is strategically located to ensure transparency and visibility from the surrounding houses into the school precinct, without compromising safety and security. Security is further enhanced by introducing several layers of controlled access, and the creation of “safe zones” at the innermost layer.

 

Functions such as the media room, which may be used by adult education programmes, are situated in a way to allow limited public access, separate to that of the main school facilities. This allows the school to serve not only its students, but also the broader community, making a sense of community ownership a realistic possibility.

 

Given the limited budget, the design proposes simple enhancements to the circulation spaces, such as stairs and passages. These enhancements create spaces, which promote interaction between students.

 

The design is pragmatic, functional and purpose driven, but focuses on creating safe, nurturing and inspiring spaces, which are appropriate to teaching and learning.

 

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Groenvlei High School

Cape Town

 

Groenvlei High School serves several surrounding communities of varying demographics. This characteristic enables the school to serve as a potential focal point, or point of overlap, between those communities. The absence of a school hall not only compromises the school’s ability to realise this potential, but also compromises the school’s ability to stage annual productions, offer indoor sporting events, and several daily school functions.

The proposed location is clearly visible from the adjacent Jan Smuts Drive, giving the school some presence within its context. The design consists of a main central space, expressed as a robust, long span structure, which admits south light through fixed polycarbonate sheets and expels hot air through roof-mounted whirly birds. This main space is held at either end by massive walls, which houses the entrance lobby in the front, and the stage and change rooms at the rear.

 

A facebrick plinth around the building becomes a core at its entrance which houses a tuck shop, a kitchen and bathrooms off the main lobby space. These materials are used to create seating elements and planters in the forecourt to the building, which ties building and landscape together. 

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Islamic Library

Lansdowne, Cape Town

 

This project is located on the top floor of an existing building, which is situated on an educational campus.

 

The floor currently houses a restaurant, an internalised library space and several classrooms. These diverse activities should make for a highly activated floor. However, as there is currently no spatial relationship between these individual components, the level of interaction and activity is severely compromised.

The architectural concept proposes maximum transparency and connection between these components. Solid walls are replaced with acoustic  glazing, to create a visual connection between the library and the restaurant. The hallway linking the restaurant to the classrooms is programmed as a gallery space, which will exhibit travelling exhibitions and commissioned artwork.

The library is conceptualised as a white, double volume space within which several individual activities are expressed through the use of colour. This creates a legible, vibrant and inviting heart to the building, in what was previously an internalised and non-descript space.

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