Sol Plaatje University, Central Campus Building 1 - Moroka Hall of Residence
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Award of Merit Citation
It is important to note in the beginning that this building by Activate Architecture forms a spatial and functional unit with Building C002 designed by Savage + Dodd Architects. These two buildings form the edge of the university square, the edge to Scanlan Street and the western edge to the campus. Together they also form an ample courtyard. Each, in turn, has several courtyards of their own. The facade treatment of each of these buildings is distinctive yet, respectful to each other.
The main facade of Building 1, faces onto Scanlan Street. On the street level as well as on the side of the university square there is, like Building C 002 (Savage + Dodd) and Building CX 003 (Wilkinson et al), an ample colonnade.
The bulk of Building 1 is filled with residential functions. The student accommodation is mostly in the form of single rooms grouped together, where each group shares bathroom and kitchen facilities. These rooms are mostly north-facing. They are all reached by single banked corridors open to the outside. The corridors/balconies are all provided with spaces where impromptu social interaction can take place. On the ground floor of Building 1, ample provision has been made for student social facilities. On the corner of Scanlan Street and the university square, a laundry for students has been provided. This facility also has desks where students can work while their washing is done. By doing this, social interaction with the public space is ensured and, thus, also public safety. Next to the laundry is a bookshop.
This building also used architectural methods to represent the cultural context of the region. One of the devices is a beautifully-designed stainless-steel screen with images of prehistoric artworks cut into it. These form equally interesting shadows onto those pedestrians using the colonnade.
The facades of this building, specifically the north facade, are an impressive expression of architectural subtlety as well as daring, which exemplifies in many ways the design talents, achievements and approach that typifies the work of Activate Architects.
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