BLT Built Design Awards 2023
Curro Durbanville High School

Status: Completed 2022

The project for a school in Durbanville, Cape Town, emerges as a beacon of innovative educational architecture, embodying a synthesis of collaborative design, environmental integration, and multifunctional spaces. At its core, the brief demanded a school distinguished by innovation across cultural and sports facilities. This vision was brought to life through an inclusive design process involving learners, teachers, and consultants, creating a project that resonates with the vibrancy of its surrounding landscape—from the majestic mountains to the vivid canola fields.

The school’s design philosophy, inspired by the concept of “The Third Teacher,” emphasizes learning through interaction with adults, peers, and the physical environment. This approach is materialized in the layout, spatial quality, and finishes, aiming to foster a stimulating educational milieu. Materials speak to the ethos of inquiry, with patterned brickwork and sheet metal cladding serving both aesthetic and navigational purposes, while off-shutter concrete and natural wood elements harmonize to create a cohesive educational environment.

Situated in the Phesantekraal development area, the school strategically leverages its natural and urban context with design considerations for future growth and seamless integration into the landscape. The program encompasses a rich mix of learning and communal spaces, including a 367-seater auditorium, a VIP sports lounge, an outdoor amphitheatre, and flexible classrooms, all designed for adaptability and expansion.

The masterplan and U-shaped building footprint encapsulate a vision of welcome and protection, balancing public and private spaces to facilitate smooth flow and interaction. The design challenges conventional school typologies by promoting constant interaction and flexibility, introducing shared spaces that transition seamlessly between educational and communal functions. The project culminates in a design that respects its environmental context and champions adaptability, preparing its users for a future of evolving educational needs.

In summary, this school stands as a testament to the power of collaborative design in creating innovative and deeply rooted spaces in their community and environment. It showcases a commitment to sustainability, flexibility, and nurturing unique educational experiences, setting a new standard for school architecture.

Team: Landseer Collen, Ian Cox, Theo Gutter, Petré Bester, Charl van der Westhuizen & Cuan Stephens

Location: Durbanville, Cape Town, South Africa