African Design Magazine November 2015 - Page 24

How did East Coast Architects come to work on the project? As a practice and as individual architects we have done most of our work in communitybased education and health infrastructure in rural and peri-urban environments. On that basis we were appointed by Oprah’s Angel Network in 2005 to design the award-winning Seven Fountains Primary School. After the success of that project the Angel Network formed the Creating Schools Trust and entered into a partnership with the Limpopo Department of Education to build a new school at Vele. We were appointed as architects. How did you come up with the format and concept for the movie submission? For an award recognising social gain we wanted the story of Vele to be told through the eyes and voice of one of the learners. “Evidence of user satisfaction of the occupier” was given as one of the primary criteria for evaluation. How did you choose the narrator? Blessing was such an obvious choice – she pretty much chose herself. Earlier in the year she had been one of four learners who participated in a ‘work experience’ programme that we managed to arrange with a nearby eco-tourism lodge owner. They spent the week helping at the lodge and received training in guiding tourists with an emphasis on taking tours around their school. We also held some workshops with the teachers, learners and support staff at the completed school where we explained how and why all of the features of the school worked. Posters around the school also explain how all of the main features work. Ian Henderson was the photographer who filmed her. There was no real script – he asked her to take him on a guided tour of the school. Read Daniel Irurah’s thoughts on the project 24