Sol Plaatje University, Building CX003
MASHILO LAMBRECHTS: Architect
GXY ARCHITECTS: Architect
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Award of Merit Citation
This building by Wilkinson et al is placed on an important and pivotal site. It is on the corner of Bishops Avenue and Scanlan Street, while it also forms one of the sides of the newly created university square. In many ways, due to its position, it is the most important building currently because it is this building that is most visible to the passing public.
Like most of the buildings in this first phase of the university, it is a perimeter block/ courtyard building with mixed functions. This is a highly-efficient form, in terms of bulk while also an environmentally-appropriate form for the kind of climate that Kimberley has. Building CX003 has already proven successful in dealing with this demanding climate of the Northern Cape. The building houses retail, teaching and learning, lecture theatres, student facilities as well as offices for academics.
The facades of this building are always layered to deal with the climate and orientation. The most pronounced of these would be the western facade that faces onto the university square. This facade is a real tour de force in its finely considered design, freedom of expression as well as restraint at the same time. All the architects of the three buildings that have received these awards have ensured that their designs for these buildings are placed in relation to and informed by local tradition and local circumstances. This building by Wilkinson et al distinguishes itself by the inspired use of local colour and brick patterns to ensure ventilation and shadows, but maybe, the most remarkable of all is the beautiful, large and subtle mosaic panels that have been used throughout the building. These were based on the patterns revealed in semi-precious stones such as agate and tiger's eye found in the vicinity. It should also be noted that despite the relatively introverted nature of the building, the architects managed to capture and frame views from within the building towards the City of Kimberley. Sensible and sensitive design elements like these are extremely important to ensure an easily understood wayfinding as well as the sense of place in the building. Similarly, the architects ensured a constant relationship inside the building to the different horizontal layers of it by means of double and triple volumes.
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