Community crѐche

As an Arch Daily Building of the Year nominee in 2024, this early childhood development (ECD) centre symbolises the power of social impact architecture, as envisaged by The.MAAK Architects.  

Co-founded by Ashleigh Killa and Max Melvill, this award-winning spatial practice, which is based in Cape Town, specialises in public buildings and public space making. 

Constructed in 2023, the New Rest Valley Crèche is the first completed formal public infrastructure in New Rest Valley, near Riebeek-Kasteel, South Africa. Sited adjacent to a public park and a piece of land earmarked for the development of a religious building, this scheme forms a critical part of what will become a valuable social corridor for the recently established community. 

Project scope 

Community crѐche

The playground is a cool, shaded space featuring a roof punctuated with gaps for wild pear trees to grow.

Built in collaboration with Vuya Foundation and the Rotary Club of Newlands, the completed project includes three fitted classrooms (catering for ±90 children), a covered playground area, kitchen, reception area, administration office, ablutions, storage and a caretaker’s flat. 

Donor funding for the project was R5 500 000, with the following project partners: Rotary Club of Newlands, Rotary Club of Pinelands, Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages, The Albert Wessels Trust, University Pre-Primary, Stonehage Fleming, Africa Aweee, Tile House, Corobrick and FloorworX, bringing this space to life for the community. 

Identifiable 

The facility is a landmark feature in the area and offers valuable civic pride for the community. 

Standing tall above a setting of single-storey self-built homes, the project is easily defined by its over-sailing saw-tooth roof. The dynamic roof element rises towards the south, allowing soft light to fill the classrooms, while carefully designed roof punctures are placed above an outdoor play area to the north. Tall wild pear trees grow through these punctures and help to keep the covered playground shaded and cool.  

The playful integration of nature into the scheme is one of the ways in which this project is unique. 

Connective skin 

Community crѐche

Standing tall amongst the single-storey self-built homes, the crѐche is a landmark. The windows of the caretaker’s flat look out over the community, helping to keep to surroundings secure.

An intricate breeze block wall lines the north edge of the building, neatly separating the scheme’s playground from a parallel street. To the east, the project opens to the neighbourhood with a comfortable covered entrance patio and wrap-around public bench. 

With the building’s footprint maximised, the architectural envelope becomes more than just a skin or wall. It is the project’s security boundary, its front door and the means through which the architecture is carefully integrated into its neighbouring context. 

Playing safe 

On the first floor is a caretaker’s flat, with windows that overlook the public park and broader community. Clear visual cues and passive surveillance from above help to keep the facility and its immediate surroundings secure. 

Colour is carefully used throughout the scheme to create a fun and child-friendly atmosphere that helps breathe life into the surroundings. 

 

Architects: The MAAK 

Area: 318 

Year: 2023. 

Photographs: Kent Andreasen 

Building contractors: BL Williams 

Structural engineers: Graham Lowden Mechanical Engineer 

Structural engineer: Jo Lubbe 

Cost consultants: BD Projects 

Fire engineers: Neil Moir and Associates 

 

For more information, contact The MAAK: 

Email: info@themaak.co.za 

Website: www.themaak.co.za  

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