ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING CENTER

Project: Undergrad 5th year - Spring 2016
Professor: Christopher Harnish
Location: Alexandra Township, Johansnesburg, South Africa

Project Brief: 

Alexandra, despite the destruction and inadequate infrastructure and services that it’s suffering from, it once was a hub for revolutionists against apartheid. Nelson Mandela, the politician and anti-apartheid revolutionary lived and fought for equality in Alexandra. 

Alexandra Township is located in the north-eastern suburbs of Johannesburg; it has been one of the poorest black townships in South Africa. In 2000 Alexandra Township has an estimated population of 350 000, living in an area that was originally designated for 70 000 people. The huge influx of people made it impossible for the existing infrastructure to resist; therefore, it fell. 

Overpopulation caused many environmental issues, such as water pollution, air pollution, and inadequate sewage system. Water access in Alexandra has been one of the greatest environmental issues that is being faced by the Alexandran population. Because of the high population, there is a demand for water that exceeds system design capacity. This results in low pressure at peak times. Therefore, it’s the architects, engineers, and environmentalists responsibility to help in solving this issue and provide access to potable water for drinking, and cooking in Alexandra.

The design intent of this project is to educate the youth of Alexandra about the environment in general and water in particular through a space that functions as a water collector, water storage, and water filter. This approach is done by following permaculture principals that shed the light on 3 important aspects, and those are: water, garden, and education. Educating Alexandra’s youth on permaculture principals will improve the resilience of the youth precinct which is the site I chose for this project. 

 

Site

The youth precinct is an area located in South Alexandra and it consists of an elementary school, and a middle school in addition to 2 community centers and a soccer pitch. 

Section AA'

 

Classroom

 

Water Filtration Lab

 

Farmers Market

 

Outdoor Seating

 

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