Cultivating Community at Willows Primary School
With the need for a safe and expanded space for the learners of Willows Primary School to cultivate a fun and educational experience, Neil Franks Architecture were approached to put their design expertise to work. In an area where upliftment and support for the youth is an urgent need, this project tackled previous disadvantage to provide educational and recreational spaces for the whole Heideveld community.
The school was started in the 1950s on the current site, occupying single-storey prefabricated classroom buildings which were intended to last for 10 years. The campus is located in suburban Heideveld where the grain of buildings is fine and predominantly residential in nature, although there are other ‘public’ buildings within the vicinity. The layout of the buildings on the site were designed in the conventional courtyard-block format.
The brief for the project was a new replacement school for the existing campus, comprising of 32 classrooms, specialist classrooms, an administration block, a school hall, a sports field, and sports courts. Primary aspects of the brief with regards to the design included creating an environment that would foster learning, creating spaces that provided visibility and openness within the campus, capital cost and maintenance cost, practicality of ongoing maintenance, learner and educator safety within the school, and getting onto the school campus.
The design was developed over the course of two years in regular meetings with the consultant team and the client body which comprised the Western Cape Education Department and the Department of Transport and Public Works. It was extremely beneficial and fortunate that the client understood the challenges of the site and the design intent for the scheme, and were supportive of its realisation.