A rural financial services centre built using sustainable methodology
- Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
- Status: Completed
This project is in Centani, a small town in the Eastern Cape, in a poor and underdeveloped area. However, it is rich in both natural and human resources. The project took financial services to a neglected community, in order to stimulate development. The brief was to provide a financial services centre built using sustainable methodology within a sustainable system in an urban context. The response is resource efficient, contextually appropriate civic architecture achieved through an intense partnership with the user community.
The site planning drew on spatial ordering of the traditional Xhosa homestead and the Edwardian grid of the town layout
A process of resource mapping informed the building process. Existing buildings were renovated and mined for materials for re-use; local alien trees provided a source of timber; traditional building skills used to construct wattle and daub in-fill panels. A strategy of zero waste was implemented so all waste generated on site was sorted, evaluated and integrated into the new buildings where possible. Passive thermal design and active natural controls have achieved a comfortable low-energy input environment.
Close consultation with the local community, a lot of involvement in the design and building process resulted in buildings that are well liked and well-used; that have achieved a high degree of social acceptance.
Project Architects: Vernon Collis & Anna Cowen in Association
Team: Collis/ Cowen/ Putter/ Barnes