SAOTA: mankgaile primary school SAOTA: mankgaile primary school
sep 15, 2011

SAOTA: mankgaile primary school

‘mankgaile primary school’ by SAOTA, polokwane, limpopo, south africa image © SAOTA

cape town-based architectural practice SAOTA has completed the ‘mankgaile primary school’ for a rural village outside the city of polokwane in limpopo, south africa. as a replacement to the existing school, the new facility also serves as a gathering place for residents reinforcing its position as a community asset. a stepped podium may be used as an impromptu forum with overarching views of the adjacent village.

stepped podium image © SAOTA

the main entrance is placed at the end of a linear spine which arranges the central public square and two open air classroom courtyards containing nine rooms on two levels. open air double story volumes are capped with a pergola of latte supported by a colonnade of steel posts to provide shade from the strong afternoon sun. the light is filtered creating dappled patterns through the outdoor corridors. restroom facilities are easily accessed during school and after school events.

veranda wraps perimeter of building image © SAOTA

‘being the most important building in the village and as it will be used as the village community centre, place of gathering, functions and sporting events it was felt that the building needed to have a presence and a stature for the community. a formal and symmetrical arrangement was felt to be most appropriate to reinforce this aspect.’ – stefan antoni, project partner

colonnaded walkway image © SAOTA

interior courtyard image © SAOTA

(left) stairs to classroom spaces (right) carved plaster facade images © SAOTA

(left) dappled light filters through latte pergola (right) open air corridor leads to interior image © SAOTA

filtered light softly illuminates corridor images © SAOTA

classroom images © SAOTA

project info:

project name: mankgaile primary school location: limpopo architects: saota – stefan antoni olmesdahl truen architects project team: stefan antoni & greg truen completion date: 2006 awards: south african institute of architects merit award in 2006 photographs: saota

  • wonderful

    dbkii says:
  • Very nice!

    Fernando says:
  • It seems a little cold and totalitarian for primary school. The scale also seems overwhelming. I know this practice produces some of South Africas greatest modernist architectural examples, but this is not the best attempt I have seen at creating rural community architecture. Sorry to say it but it looks like a national party monument..

    Unfanme says:
  • other than the columns and the grandstairs, other parts of building and the spaces in between are very nice

    peppy says:
  • The school is in a very deprived area and needs to function as a civic facility for the wider community. The over-scaled steps create seating for the sports field for sporting events, the hall can hold community meetings and cultural events and the classrooms can be used in the evenings for adult education. There are few resources for maintenance so the building by necessity has has a tough shell.

    SAOTA says:

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