Multi-disciplinary design practice, rg+p has pledged to support students from the University of Nottingham as they design and build a new creche in Limpopo, South Africa.
Every year for the past decade, the design + build studio at the University of Nottingham has worked in partnership with South African-based charities, Education Africa and the Thusanang Trust to help remote and rural communities provide facilities for local children. For 2019-2020, the studio is working to design and build an upgraded facility to accommodate 30 children at the Malahlela Creche in the Limpopo province, which is the most remote neighbourhood the team has ever worked in.
Up to 40 students will devise initial designs which will then be presented to the charities to select a scheme for construction. rg+p’s architects and architectural technologists will support the students with technical and design advice, and then later with producing working drawings, specifying materials, and the actual construction on site.
Pete Russell, assistant professor in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham commented: “The design + build studio offers our students a completely immersive experience where they invent and construct an entirely new piece of architecture, and our course is one of the only RIBA validated architecture course in the UK to offer this opportunity.
“This not only gives students a tangible, real-world example but also a huge sense of achievement in making a difference to people’s lives; since the initiative was launched ten years ago, over 2,000 South African children have been to school in a building designed and delivered by our students.
“Obviously initiatives like this aren’t possible without the support of the local business community who donate materials, expertise and time. We’re extremely grateful to Laura Davison, Tahir Caratella and all at rg+p for their commitment to the 2020 project and look forward to working with them over the next year.”
Laura and Tahir attended the official project launch in October 2019, where the brief for the new creche was outlined. This is to include classrooms, kitchen, storage facilities and outdoor play areas for up to 30 children and will use readily available materials such as locally grown timber, steel and concrete. Students have now presented their preliminary ideas and the designs will be developed between December – March before the group travels to South Africa to commence the four-week build in April 2020.
Tahir Caratella, chartered architectural technologist at rg+p said: “This is such an exciting opportunity and it was a pleasure to meet the staff, students and other businesses involved with this project. We were also fortunate to hear from alumni about their experiences, who gave useful advice that we’ll be able to put into practice.
“Both Laura and I are keen to offer the students as much guidance as possible with their designs and of course, during construction with the community out in Limpopo.”
Laura Davison, architect, rg+p added: “As a practice, we spend a lot of time mentoring students and have long-term relationships with many of the Midlands top universities. When the chance came to expand on this and support a project from conception through to completion, especially for such a charitable cause, it was too good to miss. We can’t wait to get started!”
The Malahlela creche requires £120,000 funding to complete, with this being split approximately 70% on build costs and 30% on long-term benefits including electricity and water sources. Donations are accepted via Just Giving https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rg-psouthafrica.