More than 222 000 Bergendal Satin Blend face bricks from Corobrik’s Witbank factory were used to build the new R40-million lecture theatre block at the University of Zululand (Unizulu), which students started using in September 2012.

 

More than 222 000 Bergendal Satin Blend face bricks from Corobrik’s Witbank factory were used to build the new R40-million lecture theatre block at the University of Zululand (Unizulu), which students started using in September 2012.

This is the first time that this distinctive earth-coloured brick with its smooth satin finish has been used at the university as a change from the red face brick and plastered and painted buildings that define much of the aesthetics of the campus.

“The material palette of Bergendal face bricks, off-shutter concrete and a steel roof creates a warm and earthy feel for the building,” said Mohideen Abdool Gafoor of MA Gafoor Architect CC, who designed the structure.

The two-storey block provides teaching spaces for 2 160 students. Six lecture theatres, each with 300 seats, provide raked seating for 1 800 students. A further 350 students can be accommodated in flat classrooms – divided by folding acoustic screens so they can be used individually or jointly – and there are 31 workstations in the computer laboratory. Piazzas or common areas shared by the education and nursing science students create opportunities for informal student interaction, as the new block is situated between the existing nursing science and arts buildings.

“The design challenge was to link the various buildings at different levels to the central library whilst providing teaching spaces and integrating the development with the surrounding buildings and topography,” said Gafoor.

“The design also had to support a sustainable outcome and had to be energy-efficient. The materials palette had to incorporate sustainable aspects such as recycled content and/or be reusable, and products such as brick, steel and metal roof sheeting fulfilled that requirement. The brick finishes we chose are durable and relatively maintenance-free. Even the interiors of the lecture theatres are in face brick and the classrooms have face brick dados to window sill height,” said Gafoor.

“There is increasing demand for sustainable building materials in today’s environment-conscious world and Corobrik face brick, with its low lifecycle carbon footprint, is an important contributor to this,” said Dirk Meyer, managing director of Corobrik, the national brick-maker which is celebrating its 111th anniversary this year.

“Face brick provides a holistic competent solution for the numerous sustainability attributes of brick, including longevity that provides opportunity to dissipate the materials embodied energy, durability that mitigates future carbon debt associated with maintenance and replacement of less durable materials, and thermal efficiency – the inherent thermal mass affording building envelopes the ability to self-regulate in order to help keep rooms cool in summer and warm in winter, and so save on energy usage and cost.”

The university’s new lecture block is dominated by the deep roof eaves, which shelter not just the building but provide covered link-ways to the various surrounding buildings. A lath screen serves as protection from the wind and rain in the southwest.

All the buildings are totally user-friendly for the physically challenged with access ramps, special toilets, seating allocation in lecture theatres and a dedicated lift.

Construction began in July 2011 and the building was completed by the contractor, Aveng Grinaker-LTA Building East, in March 2012.

Corobrik
Tel: (031) 560 3233
Website: www.corobrik.co.za