The beauty of sustainable design in Joe Slovo West Community Project

Hanneke Schutte tells us why she nominated this community upliftment project for Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2017.

The Joe Slovo West Community Project, a haven for small children on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, has been nominated for Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2017 by SA filmmaker Hanneke Schutte. The small school’s design was managed by Kevin Kimwelle, an architect with an affection for alternative building methods and sustainable design.

The project was a total renovation of a previous nursery that had become too small to host the growing number of toddlers that relied the nursery on a regular basis. A local non-profit organisation, Love Story, stepped in and drafted the help of a number of architects to revamp the space. The project was led by Kimwelle.

With emphasis placed on the involvement of local citizens rather than a foreign company who are disconnected to the space, this is an example of design for the people, by the people. A representative of Love Story says, “The people who actually live there are deciding what they want to do and who is involved with the whole process.”

It was not only the social upliftment aspect that drew Schutte to the project, but also the environmental integrity of the architecture. She says, “They used recycled materials and they built this entire creche for the price of an RDP house.”

Photographic credit goes to Franziska Ritter, Jourbert Roos and the GM ChildLife Foundation.

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