Creating Social Impact With An Old Container

Located in the picturesque Durbanville wine valley, Vissershok Primary School is a rural school attended by children of farm workers and underprivileged families living in nearby Du Noon Township. The school facilities needed to be upgraded. The design solution was to recycle a 12m container to create an independent classroom for 25 Grade R learners, aged between five and six.

Built with limited means and budget, the final product made the best use of available space by incorporating four different elements:

Learning area: in the morning, the container serves as a classroom for Grade R students and in the afternoon as a small library for the entire Vissershok Primary School. The large roof shelters the container from direct sunlight while a ventilation gap reduces heat gain. Cross-ventilation is achieved through a series of colourful windows located on each side of the container.

Gathering area: stepped seating extends the patio, offering a space for children to eat lunch and socialise, while also acting as an amphitheatre for school assemblies.

Play area: like a pair of outstretched arms, the play area has steel frames that extend outwards supporting the play equipment.

Growing area: when fully cultivated, a green, vertical, vegetable wall garden will shelter the play area from prevailing south-easterly winds. A large area adjacent to the container classroom was transformed into a vegetable garden. Besides serving as an educational tool for the kids, the garden will also allow the school to have fresh produce to add to their feeding program.

The project won a silver trophy at the Loerie Awards under the architecture category in 2013, and was co-sponsored by Woolworths, Safmarine and AfriSam. Click here to see a video about the project.

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