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Social Architecture

Social Architecture

The Education Africa Social Architecture Project applies the theories of affordable building to impoverished areas inhabited by the poorest of the poor, whose facilities are inadequate and/or non-existent.

The design and building concepts of an international partner university are implemented for the creation of the physical structures, and students from the university come to construct the building, thus encouraging social tourism and the transfer of skills from the university students to unemployed and often uneducated, locals.

Education Africa has partnered with a number of universities and technical universities to build a number of preschools over the past 15 years. Today we are partnering with Nottingham University School of Built Environment and Thušanang Trust in Limpopo Province.

How do Education Africa Social Architecture Projects work?

These socially effective design build projects are incorporated into the academic programme of the partner university where their students design the structure, and a number of students are then selected to physically come and build the preschool facilities over a 6 – 7 week period. The international students are also involved in raising funds for the project.

The centres are designed and constructed by the students using simple inexpensive local building materials, while applying innovative solutions to architectural problems. Often, the students include unemployed local residents in the building of the facilities in order to encourage skills transfer.

Education Africa, through our ECD project and partners, also helps to ensure that partnerships and structures are in place so that the centres will be run and maintained effectively, once built.

See our completed Social Architecture projects below:

Technical University of Vienna designed and constructed a workplace, storage area for tools and materials, cooking and sanitary facilities, an office and a centre for social interaction for Modimo O Moholo home for disabled adults in the Orange Farm community.

Phase 2 of the project (2005) saw the additional construction of living units and additional workshops.

Orange Farm in an impoverished informal settlement south of Johannesburg, and suitable areas for social interaction and work areas were needed so that the centre could become a fully operational workplace.

Technical University of Vienna designed and built a Facility for Security Personnel at Masibambane College. This multi-purpose room, incorporating basic sanitary and cooking facilities is also used as the living quarters for the school security personnel.

University of Art, Linz built a kitchen, laundry and dining areas and therapy rooms for Tebogo Home for mentally and physically handicapped children. The home had been partially destroyed by fire in 2004; thus it desperately needed reparation and upgrading to cater for the children’s needs.

Graz University of Technology built Thembelihle Pre-School in Wielers Farm, an
extraordinarily poor township in need of pre-school facilities. An entirely new facility was

built with adequate play and sleep areas to replace the pre-fabricated shack which had
previously been accommodating 60 children. The new facility accommodates many more

Technical University of Vienna built Emmanuel Day Care Centre pre-school in Orange Farm. The entirely new facility replaced a pre-fabricated shack to accommodate many more children, with adequate play and sleep areas.
University of Salzburg built the Magagula Skills Centre for unemployed adults and for the disabled at Montic Primary School on Montic Dairy Farm near Heidelberg. The centre provides for the impoverished and largely unemployed community living on and near the farm. A complex of buildings was built which provide a location for unemployed adults and young people to gain woodwork, metalwork, sewing and brick-making skills.
University of Salzburg completed the Lesedi Nhlahle Training Crèche in Haenertsburg. This facility comprises a nursery for babies as well as a pre-school room, a kitchen and eating area, sanitary facilities as well as an apartment for the trainer. This facility is part of Thušanang Training Centre for pre-school teachers.
University of Aachen, Germany built Sharp Sharp Pre-School at Montic Primary School, where two cramped, hot classrooms had previously accommodated 60 pre-school children. An entirely new facility was built, which accommodates more children with a play area, silent sleep room, sanitary facilities and an outdoor/play area. A vegetable garden was also planted
University of Art, Linz built Teddy Bear Pre-School in Orange Farm to accommodate 150 toddlers, many of whom are orphans and who were previously cared for in a pre-school run from a shack. A day care facility with sleep rooms, covered patio and outdoor play area, offices and kitchen were built.
University of Innsbruck built a Grade R facility at Olifantsvlei Primary School, ensuring that the pre-schoolers would have a separate facility with suitable play and rest areas. Education Africa partnered with Adopt-a-School Foundation on this project for the first time.
Nottingham University completed the Junior Early Learning Centre in Jouberton near Klerksdorp. This facility replaces a tin shack which was previously used to care for 60 children. This was Education Africa’s first partnership venture with the University of Nottingham, and Thušanang.
Cosmo City ECD Centre built as a partnership effort between Education Africa and students from Cornell University, the City of Johannesburg, Basil Read, and Play with a Purpose.
Khomotsu Creche in Calais Village, Limpopo. In addition to the classrooms, the facility also includes a kitchen, a utility area, an office, a shaded play/eating/artwork area, as well as robust external play equipment.
Rethuseng Day Care Centre was completed in Khujwana, Limpopo, as a partnership between Education Africa, students from the University of Nottingham, and Thušanang. The new facilities at Rethuseng include wonderful learning spaces for the different age groups of children in their own rooms.
Mothopong Crèche in Tlhabine Village was completed in a partnership venture between Education Africa, students from the University of Nottingham, and Thušanang. The structure comprises an office, 3 classrooms, a kitchen, a storage facility as well as a large covered outdoor area.
Lesedi Crèche accommodates 79 children in 3 classrooms, and included in the new facility is a kitchen, an office, a playground, new toilets and a borehole for water supply. This project is again a partnership venture between Education Africa, students from the University of Nottingham, and Thušanang.

Construction to this creche in the remote area of Mankweng, Limpopo was due to start in April 2020, but has been put on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Once the all-clear is given, construction will begin on new classrooms, offices, a kitchen, storage facility and – time dependant – playground structures, fencing and new toilet facilities. This will be the tenth social architecture project undertaken by the University of Nottingham. Thusanang Trust is again partnering with Education Africa to make this project a reality.

PreSchools Built

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