MOTLHOTLO RELOCATION PROJECT
Mokopane, Limpopo, South Africa
Community centres in South Africa tend to perpetuate the long double pitched roof building typology, usually with a raised stage at the back. This grew out of the colonial and apartheid model, with the function ostensibly to accommodate large community groups for assemblies, weddings, funerals, church and political gatherings. These halls consequently stood empty for 95% of the time.
In a contemporary urbanising world community halls need to serve the everyday needs of the people and not only be used on special occasions.
Mixed-use activities involving smaller groupings need to be considered and allowed to occur simultaneously. Youth, women’s and elderly groups need to catered for and so do after school homework sessions and workshops for adults and children.
The typology of the community hall needs to be contested to be able to cater for both large and small community groups, and smaller groups require acoustically separate spaces for privacy.
By reinterpreting the community hall into an inclusive circular typology with a central courtyard in the middle a heart and place of gathering can be provided for the neighbourhood.
Four mono-pitch roofs slope towards a large box-gutter surrounding the square central courtyard, which could either be pyramid roofed or open. The circumference wall can have curved parapets that gesture towards distant mountains.
The entrance canopy celebrates the distant mountains and sky, while generously receiving community members.
Radiating landscaping, including paving, lawns and benches unify the community centre, with only established indigenous trees needing to be planted to complete the facility that provide further meeting spaces as part of the public realm.