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Grahamstown Multi-Purpose Centre

Just outside the beautiful, historic town of Grahamstown, but effectively a world away, there was a desperate need to provide a new facility for social services at the gateway to an impoverished, largely informal settlement, Joza Township. Besides a need for offices and small meeting spaces for social services (welfare and counselling), the brief also asked for an educational component (classrooms for adult learners), a hall with kitchen and separate staff facilities (staff room, administration office and ablutions). The client highlighted that the main challenge with such facilities is that the people it serves usually just arrive at the facility without an appointment. Making this potentially eternal waiting process less arduous became a key feature of the design and provided the formal basis for the more “fragile,” metal-clad, mono-pitched “waiting box” centred around an inside/outside courtyard space and binds the other components together, thereby forming the heart of the building.

Project Facts

Value:R11 million
Client:Derpartment of Public Wortks
Date of Project:2009
Design Team:Albrecht Herholdt, Miles Hollins, Penny Jack