Breede River School

Worcester

The Breede Valley School incorporates the latest in technological innovation and environmental sustainability initiatives, to create a world class educational facility for young learners in the Breede Valley Region.

The School is a privately funded public facility and the client’s brief included the creation of an innovative architectural design that would generate a stimulating and inspiring environment for learners, while showcasing the latest in environmental innovation and technology. The architectural design incorporates a number of environmental sustainability mechanisms, including energy savings through passive heating and cooling, energy efficient lighting installations and monitoring systems, water harvesting and water treatment strategies and wind energy generation. Landscape architectural interventions included the creation of extensive green roof systems, productive vegetable gardens and orchards, an indigenous water-wise and didactic planting palette, and a vegetation rehabilitation component.

An integrated outdoor play environment was created to cater for a variety of ages and capability levels, focusing on tactile and natural play. Rockeries, sand pits and natural materials were incorporated to create an interactive environment to allow natural expression and learning through play. The play environment includes a variety of custom-designed components that complement the architectural design while providing a variety of opportunities for play and exploration.

All play equipment and hard landscape materials and finishes were carefully designed and chosen to promote physical and cognitive development for children of various age groups through equipment manufactured by locally available and natural materials. Equipment was developed for easy and quick site installation to assist with time constraints. Various components are positioned throughout the play areas to allow children to develop upper and lower body muscles as well as social interaction between peers through play. All materials and fixing details applied were carefully considered to ensure durability and safe environments for children to explore and grow. Specific play elements were incorporated to cater for various age groups in two enclosed play environments that were integrated into the embankments created at the site. The play equipment for each of these areas was carefully considered to cater for specific functions.

By incorporating the best practice principles to produce a resilient project, the landscape was designed to harvest, filter and store all storm water runoff in a retention basin for reuse as irrigation and to create micro climates and habitats throughout the polishing process. Planted roofs include a wide range of indigenous species promoting a sensory learning experience for scholars. A ramp leads through the green roof area to allow learners to access the roof and interact with the various plant species. The extensive rehabilitation of the rare Renosterveld ecosystem surrounding the north and western side of the property intends to minimize the school’s environmental footprint and provide an additional ecological learning environment for the students.