Face brick for this award-winning university building

by Ofentse Sefolo
Face brick for this award-winning university building

The newly created School of Education’s Teaching Practice Building at Sol Plaatje University in the Northern Cape was designed to fit into the wider urban design framework. Corobrik’s Bergendal Satin range was used by URBA Architects & Urban Designers for the solid brick design.

Musa Shangase, commercial director at Corobrik, comments: “We are so proud to once again be a part of an award-winning architectural design that will serve the community for future generations. Our clay face brick range is ideal for the harsh climatic conditions of the Northern Cape. The natural properties of the brick also allow for organic temperature regulation for maximum interior comfort, and noise attenuation for an environment conducive to studying. Plus, the finished product is truly captivating.”

According to the architects, the building relies on solid (face) brick mass to mitigate the severe climatic conditions. In this specific building, which is orientated north-south, heat conditions are compounded by extensive east- and west-facing facades that justify the thickening of walls.

The honest design expression and uncluttered face brick envelope create a bold form with unfussy detailing.

Innovative use of light and space
The architects also made full use of the Northern Cape’s crisp light to enhance the face brick aesthetic, stating: “Light penetrates deeper and the etching of solid against void becomes more pronounced. Around sunrise and sunset, the moody face brick glows magnificently and with an effect that far exceeded our expectations.”

Commenting on the decision to use Corobrik’s Bergendal Satin, Etienne Britz of URBA Architects & Urban Designers said: “The face brick forms part of this framework, with the exception of the all-concrete Library and Student Resources Centre by Designworkshop which is a focal point on the main square. The design of the steel shading screens on the western side of the Teaching Practice Building is not standard, however, we designed these shading screens in a language that suits the robust aesthetic of this specific building.”

Although crafted in a solid mass, the spaces are moulded to provide natural airflow and light to enter the building, with the circulation spaces a continuation of the external circulation. Designers implemented a clever use of space, with carved seating alcoves and balconies to reduce mono-functional lost space and create an inclusive environment.

Inside the building, the company’s stock bricks were mostly flush-jointed and painted white to either provide accents or to allow deflected natural light to penetrate deeper into the spaces. Yellow and light-blue tones were used as further colour accents throughout.

The project team
The URBA Architects & Urban Designers team included Henri Comrie and Etienne Britz, assisted by Xandrin Dirks and Lara Fisher. Other organisations involved in the construction of the building were AECOM, Aurecon, Royal Haskoning DHV, Civilsense Consulting, InSite Landscape Architects, LimCo QS and Qualicon Construction. The building won a South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) Regional Award for Architecture in 2019.

The Corobrik-sponsored SAIA Regional Awards’ ceremony was held at Kopano Nokeng Conference Centre on 18 October 2019. The award winners will now be submitted for national adjudication to become eligible for a SAIA/Corobrik Award of Merit 2020 and a SAIA/Corobrik Award for Excellence 2020.

Tel: 011 871 8600
Website: www.corobrik.co.za


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