Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Armadillo Crèche in Johannesburg, South Africa by Cornell University Sustainable Design
May 12th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Cornell University Sustainable Design
Armadillo Crèche is the design for an early childhood development (ECD) center in Johannesburg, South Africa. It accommodates 80 children and houses a teacher-training center. Standing on an elevated site, the ECD center is a beacon for education.
To embrace the necessity of a fence, the design likens itself to an armadillo: it curls in on itself, protecting its soft underbelly with a hard shell. The design integrates the boundary condition with the buildings and landscape, creating zones of different scales for various activities as it unfurls. At the heart of the ECD center lie communal programs: a semi-outdoor dining space and a paved play area. These communal spaces are angled to open up to views of the natural conservation zone.
The school is a product of a two-year process orchestrated by Cornell University Sustainable Design, an interdisciplinary student-led organization at Cornell University. Students, with the help of academic advisors and industry professionals, executed the project through a semester of research, a semester of design development integrated into the Bachelor of Architecture comprehensive design studio curriculum, and three months of construction.
Students collaborated with local partners in construction and education to refine the design. Over thirty student volunteers traveled to South Africa to construct the school alongside local laborers from the surrounding neighborhood, Cosmo City.
Strong emphasis is placed on sustainable passive sustainable technologies to decrease cost and energy dependency. Conscientious decisions in resiliency are found in all dimensions of the project: the architectural design, construction methods, material production and purchasing, included facilities, project financing and day-to-day operations. A year after construction, the ECD center was still not connected to the grid. The teachers, however, were not worried: they explained that these passive technologies create a bright, warm, and efficacious school without the use of electricity.