Olifantsvlei : Big Plans for small people

Olifantsvlei. Preschool, Johannesburg, South Africa

Hardcover – 148 pages
Published in October, 15th, .2010
Language: english

ISBN 978-3-200-01437-4
20.00 EUR

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.

This book serves not only as a documentation about the process of designing and buidling. Furtheron issues like postcolonialism are discussed. In telling the project’s story, we do our best to include the perspectives of people who use or inhabit the building, not only the people who designed it.

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