In 2012, three classrooms of the Nokuthula Centre and Special School were destroyed in a fire. The school, which renders services to pupils with severe intellectual disabilities, was rebuilt in Lyndhurst by Basil Read and designed by TKDS.
Construction of the 10 301m² school began in February 2015 and was completed in October 2017. The new school caters for 560 pupils, ranging from 3 to 18 years old, who are representative of the South African population.
Khulani Silwanyana, company director at TKDS, comments: “The whole project was special, as there was going to be a new prototype for these type of schools in the Gauteng Province. A significant amount of work went into research on this project – including local and international facilities of this nature – and every element had to be thought through carefully. It was important to transition the stigma around facilities for people with disabilities from negative to positive through this project.”
As this is a public institution, the project had to provide low-maintenance solutions. The design of the buildings was such that each space uses natural light and ventilation, while deep overhangs to all walkways help to keep the harsh afternoon heat from the classroom spaces. As part of the project’s green initiatives, the school makes use of solar geysers and borehole facilities, as well as having its own solar farm on site. Face brick was the material of choice for this project.
“The maintenance-free aspect of face brick made it an ideal material for this school. The application of materials was extremely important, as it had to cater for children with special needs. Sensory awareness, visual contrast, texture cost and maintenance were the main parameters,” says Musa Shangase, national commercial executive at Corobrik.
Khulani believes that the fundamental and functional goals for the project have been achieved. “The facility is attractive, functional and stimulating, with safe, secure and environmentally friendly accommodation.”
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|The maintenance-free aspect of face brick made it an ideal material for the Nokuthula Centre and Special School.|