William Andrew MARTINSON: Design Architect
THM ENGINEERS: Engineer
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Anglo American Chairman's Fund and Anglo American Platinum approved funding for improvements to the existing Jalamba Clinic, in Tafalehashe, a remote rural area in the Transkei. Their intention was to provide an improved Clinic facility in an area from which Anglo American Platinum sourced some of its employees.
The new Clinic facility was to be a joint project between Anglo American Chairman's Fund and Anglo American Platinum and the EC Department of Health on the basis of an agreed Memorandum of Understanding.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recorded the terms under which Anglo American Chairman's Fund and Anglo American Platinum would provide the infrastructure and the EC Department of Health would provide the staff and resources to enable the clinic to function.
The upgrade project was also intended to provide support to the nurses working at Jalamba Clinic and a Nurses Home was integral to this ideal.
The Clinic and Nurses Home was originally going to be a single project, but due to budget constraints the Clinic was constructed first. This was due to delays in securing a signed MOU by the EC Department of Health and the rapid escalation of building costs in the lead up to the Soccer World Cup.
Additional funding was subsequently obtained from Anglo American Chairman's Fund and Anglo American Platinum and the Nurses Home was then constructed as a separate contract with a second contractor. Both phases were put out to competitive tender.
APPOINTMENT OF PROFESSIONAL TEAM
Osmond Lange Architects was appointed by the Anglo American Chairman’s Fund in 2006. The project fell under the direction of Donald Millwood, a Project Manager with Tshikululu Social Investments who were appointed as the Managing Agents of the Anglo American Chairman's Fund.
THM Engineers of East London handled the Structural and Civil Engineering under the direction of Gerhard du Plessis. Bob Mazwana of MMPA in East London handled the Quantity Surveying requirements.
The first meeting with the Tafalehashe community to discuss the possible development was held on 21 September 2006.
The project brief was in due course reduced to the following:
SCHEDULE OF ACCOMMODATION
NEW CLINIC BUILDING
NURSE'S LIVING ACCOMMODATION
At the outset there was no piped water available on the site. Large rainwater tanks on plinths and two high level water storage tanks (with pumps) were provided to supply potable water to the Clinic and Nurses Home. There was similarly no power available at the commencement of the project but provision for the future connection was made throughout with the installation of suitable electrical fittings.
ESKOM power and a regional Water Supply scheme were both subsequently connected to the Clinic site. The soil-water and waste-water were both piped to a substantial Septic Tank on the south side of the site, connected in turn into a traditional herring-bone French drain.
A secure grassed courtyard would be created around which the Clinic, Nurses Home and 'old' Clinic were arranged as a secure complex within the larger site. The courtyard had a scale that would enable community meetings to take place within it. The existing Clinic was used as an anchor to position the courtyard on the site.
The courtyard would ideally be planted with one large 'sacred' tree placed centrally to provide shade. A covered verandah would provide access and circulation around three sides of the courtyard, linking the Clinic, the Nurses Home and the 'old' clinic;
A 'pergola' structure on the west side was intended to secure the fourth side of the courtyard, as was a broad Verandah structure on the remaining extent of the south side of the courtyard. Various ramped level changes were introduced within the covered verandah to cater for the fall of the site.
The Clinic and the Nurses Home were both linear buildings with all spaces linked by broad internal corridors, top lit with clearstory window. All internal spaces had generous sloping ceilings following the mono-pitch slope of the roof. All three nurses Bedrooms and the Living Room faced due north and addressed the road from within their own secure garden space.
The new buildings were intended to fit in with the local architectural context of the Transkei hinterland with simple, plastered and painted surfaces and volumes. The Clinic and Nurses Home were both roofed with a secret-fix sheeting to create a long lasting maintenance free roof. The new roof sheeting also help to differentiate the layered history of the site and enabled the 'old' clinic with its corrugated iron roof to stand apart as the original core building.
The guardroom at the northern corner of the courtyard provided a single point of surveillance over the access road, the parking area, the ambulance and pedestrian arrival, the waiting areas and courtyard within.
The entrance into the Clinic complex was marked with a simple, large red cross and the words JALAMBA CLINIC, on a plain rectangular plastered wall.
SUBSEQUENT ADDITIONS: 2013
A new Waiting Room, designed and constructed by the Donald Woods Foundation (DWF), has closed the west side of the courtyard and is accessed by a narrow and low verandah. A small-scale building of three Offices has also closed the south side of the courtyard.
The design of the two DWF buildings was clearly informed by Osmond Lange’s placing of the buildings around the courtyard and by the use of a tall parapet wall with an attached verandah. However the design for the DWF missed the finer detail and conception of the three-dimensional massing, the use of clear storey windows, the wide circulation verandahs and the lofty sloping ceilings used in the Clinic and the Nurses Home. These aspects were unfortunately neither understood nor perpetuated in the two new buildings.
OPENING CEREMONY: 2014
The MEC for the EC Department of Health, Sicelo Gcobana, formally opened the Clinic facility on 22 April 2014, at a function jointly funded by the Anglo American Chairman's Fund, Anglo American Platinum and the EC Department of Health.
An engraved commemorative brass plaque was installed on a timber mount on one of the buttresses within the courtyard. A transcript of the plaque is provided below:
William Martinson, Donald Millwood (2014)
All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.