Studio 3 : Olifantsvlei

Date: 2006
Institute: Studio 3, Leopold Franzens University, Innsbruck, Austria
Project Type: Public Architecture – Preschool, Johannesburg, South Africa
Involvment: Lukas Maehr was project participant
Head: Astrid Dahmen, Volker Gienke, Walter Prenner
Team: 25 Students
Photo: Studio 3

On the initiative of Christoph Chorherr („sarch“), Cyril Ramaphosa, former General Secretary of the ANC and close confidante of Nelson Mandela, invited ./studio3 to design and build a primary school together with his „shanduka – adopt-a-school Foundation“. The Olifantsvlei Primary School (860 pupils, 20 teachers) is part of the Moses Maren Mission, which consists of a primary school, a secondary high school and a children‘s home. The children come from various townships and travel distances of up to 48km to school each day. Many of the children have been orphaned as a result of aids. Alongside reading, writing and arithmetic, particular attention is paid to such everyday knowledge as HIV and AIDS awareness and prevention. The „Basic Education“ for all children outlined by Unesco sees particularly pressing needs in the pre-school area. The simple act of attending school which is written into law in South Africa cannot automatically guarantee „literacy“ – the ability to read and write. It is precisely the pre-school environment that offers the potential for compensation and special support and the use of play to learn languages.

A fantasy-based / creative / happy / and child-friendly architectural space offers the foundation for a positive and sustainable encounter with knowledge. And this is the spirit in which the students and the studio embraced the invitation to create this space for the children of Olifantsvlei (Text: Astrid Dahmen)