African Design Magazine November 2015 - Page 11

African project Project Kagiso often seem far removed from the finished product, usually hypothetical in university, are great sharpening tools for emerging designers. Inevitably, working next to a nursery meant a lot of cute pictures of kids were taken, all of whom would fight to be in front of the lens and be overcome with excitement when seeing their photo. We, as the second phase, inherited a site behind schedule due to unforeseeable setbacks (we had to get used to ‘TIA’, or “This is Africa”, as a valid reason for delays). A lot of hard work was required with early starts, late nights, sweat, sunscreen and unspeakable portaloo conditions. Two years prior to Kagiso, in 2013, I was involved as a student in a similar project called Aga Sikolo. I was on the first phase of construction and therefore never managed to see the finished building in person. Fortunately, the Kagiso site was only 40 minutes from the Aga Sikolo site, which is in a small village called Calais. This meant that I was able to travel back and see the school. I can safely say that seeing the finished project filled with happy, adorable children was one of the most rewarding and humbling things I have seen in my short architectural career. In the year following Aga Sikolo, the SA3 building, a subsequent project, allowed the nursery to expand its intake for the coming year and finished off a three year process of Nottingham University’s involvement in creating the Calais campus. On the penultimate day of construction, with so much still to finish off, we worked into the dark using car headlights to illuminate the site in a desperate bid to finish the project… The last day was manic. It was a frantic bid to get the project finished and in a useable state to hand over as a functioning school. We worked into the evening with growing numbers of the community turning out to help and see the conclusion. Everyone worked incredibly hard and all credit is due to the second year students who made this a reality. With the last full day on site being so busy, a small party of us went back the following morning before departing to Johannesburg to see the finished buildings in daylight. Gumpole columns were used to support a timber truss and perlin roof structure upon which the corrugated roof sat. This sailed above the curving brickwork to allow for cross africandesignmagazine.com 11