The new amphitheatre at Milkwood Primary School was built with Terraforce blocks and pavers.
When architect Francois van Zyl was appointed to design a seating arena for 600 pupils at Milkwood Primary School in Mossel Bay, he drew on the age-old practice of building amphitheatres.
The term amphitheatre is derived from the Greek language, roughly meaning to view from two sides. Open-air theatres have been in use for over 2 000 years, mostly in ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, with some of them able to seat up to 60 000 spectators.
Planners back then understood the superb acoustics achieved in these structures, and consequently today’s urban planners consider similar amphitheatres when designing seating and viewing spaces for public sports or entertainment facilities.
Van Zyl was further inspired by an example of this type of seating arrangement on the Terraforce website. “After an initial survey of the site, we decided to excavate a half-round shape from the existing embankment and create a seating arena using Terraforce 4×4 Multi Step blocks, 200mm high hollow blocks and concrete pavers,” he explains.
“The 4×4 Multi Step block is perfectly suited for creating a first-rate seating arena, and we closely followed the construction guidelines on the Terraforce site, only adding extra concrete reinforcement for the stairways. What was a bit of a challenge, was creating a perfect semi-circle, with the surveyor having to check for accuracy every few metres.”
Dan-Jon Building Projects started construction in July 2014 and the project was completed in October 2014, with blocks supplied by Mobicast in George. The civil and structural engineer was Cobus Louw.
“The school is planting trees to round off the appearance of the arena and is planning to order a domed roof, which will turn this facility into a truly multi-functional assembly area,” says Van Zyl.
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