PUBLISHED IN THE DIGEST OF SA ARCHITECTURE 2011
Sunnydale is adjacent to Masiphumelele (Masi) which is a densely populated settlement on the Cape Peninsula between Fish Hoek and Kommetjie. The client, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF), has been involved with the youth in Masi for several years. Through this interaction, the youth expressed a need for a safe place where they could gather, play, learn or simply enjoy a quiet space. The DTHF identified the site opposite the Masiphumelele Secondary School for the provision of a Youth Centre that could “… provide a safe and fun environment for adolescents to develop mentally and physically healthy lifestyles”.
The brief for the site was to provide a youth centre and a separate women’s centre with a common entrance while still maintaining a degree of autonomy. The entrance to the site was positioned opposite the entrance to the school. Visitors enter between a gatehouse and a kiosk, under a protective canopy that continues as a tree lined walkway, connecting the site entrance to the entrance of each building. The proposed trees and low-seating walls separate this walkway from a common parking area.
The Youth Centre and the basketball court face onto Guinea Fowl Road and the school across the road, visually connecting activities on both sides. The building consists of a series of activity rooms with ancillary spaces. Access to each of these rooms is visible from the Youth Centre’s entrance lobby, the first point of arrival. A covered pergola will provide access between the activity rooms.
The activity rooms all have large folding doors connecting onto the basketball court side. Each room also has access to the more peaceful south-west side with its tall trees. This area will receive minimal intervention by means of landscaping elements created from the trees that had to be felled, offering a natural and peaceful alternative to the hustle and bustle of densely populated Masi.
Working with a small budget was a challenge. This was exacerbated by the need to construct a sewerage pump chamber in the absence of of municipal site services. The impact of this item on the budget meant foregoing important external elements such as the entrance canopy, covered walkways, new trees, paving, signage and the basketball court. These will be added as further funding becomes available.
The ongoing development of the site will eventually see the removal of the temporary structures to make way for the basketball court, the addition of the outstanding elements and finally, the construction of the second building.
Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
Laatoe Key Kotze cc
Moroff & Kühne
Moroff & Kühne
Nkuthalo Wouter Engelbrecht (Pty) Ltd.
De Villiers Reid Chiddy and Murray