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Usasazo Secondary School
Cape Town, Western Cape


Client:Department of Transport and Public Works
2006SAIA Award of Merit


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34°01'33.69" S 18°39'31.60" E Alt: 28m

Award Citation

The project is distinguished from surrounding schools through a well-considered response to the brief and appropriate responses to the severe contextual constraints of the area. They depart from the notion that schools are buildings as objects, and instead impart a strong identity at the street edge. At the street façade the scene is set for a vibrancy where entrepreneurial teaching can develop into active trading.

On site building components are informally positioned to form a series of treed and sport courts where students are sheltered from prevailing winds. Generous walkway canopies introduce a more humane scale to the entrance court, which continues in various forms linking the different building components.

The introduction of natural light into most of the classrooms, hall and library is innovatively designed and positioned with dramatic effect. The robust detailing and well considered use of materials acknowledges the strain and limited maintenance capacity of public buildings in this area. The school is a commendable example of an appropriately contextualised building which can accommodate a variety of needs beyond its brief, relevant to its surrounding community.

Writings about this entry

Low, Iain, Cooke, Julian and Joubert, 'Ora Ekasi Medley: in Joubert, 'Ora (Ed). 2009. 10 years + 100 buildings: pp 270
Low, Iain, Cooke, Julian and Joubert, 'Ora Usasazo Secondary School: in Joubert, 'Ora (Ed). 2009. 10 years + 100 buildings: pp 270