Rural schools win ecology award

2012-10-04 09:25
The Lebone II College is conceived as a new education model with accommodation, farming and alternative teaching methods. (Thys Dullaart)

The Lebone II College is conceived as a new education model with accommodation, farming and alternative teaching methods. (Thys Dullaart)

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Cape Town - Two rural schools have been jointly awarded the top honours for architecture for their environmentally sustainable designs.

Lebone II College in Phokeng in the North West province and Vele Secondary School in Limpopo shared the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture.

The schools' design could serve as a model for how educational facilities are built, and the government would be expected to carry out sustainability studies to determine the affordability for such structures, particularly in impoverished communities.

Architects at Lebone II College had to take into account the disused sand quarry prior to the construction phase and conceived of a sports field and wetland feature on the campus.

"Sustainability and education are joined at the hip as they are both concerned with the future and future generations. For teaching to have lasting value it needs to embody sustainability," said Reon van der Wiel from Activate Architects, designer of the college.

The design of Vele Secondary School was influenced by the leopards, snakes and baboons that children encountered on their way to school.

The architect said that school design was important in that it reflected the environment in which the learners find themselves.

"It is fitting that schools display the new realities in the time in which we are living. Learners are literally going to have to pull this one 'out of the fire' because this is the generation that will have to repair our mistakes," said school architect Derek van Heerden.

The AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture was introduced in 2009 to recognise and promote projects in South African architecture that produce more ecologically sustainable buildings.

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