THULUMTWANA CHILDREN’S FACILITY
Weiler's Farm, Lenasia, Gauteng, South Africa
The project, the first of its kind to be both child owned and managed, is a prototype
for other initiatives that will acknowledge children’s rights in informal settlements.
Emerging from a considered research process, the project’s setting in an informal
settlement seeks to dignify the young and their work, and offer hope for social
transformation in a bleak context.
Three modified shipping containers, shade structures and low enclosing walls were
employed to articulate a series of outdoor rooms and courtyards for playing and
learning. Mounded earth provided access to the roof of one of the containers in
response to the children’s expressed need for places to climb in what was a barren
treeless environment. The other containers, at the wish of the children, were
designed as places for doing homework. As the existing settlement had no trees
or other means of shelter from the sun in the public realm, a strong emphasis was
placed on providing shade. These formed ‘outdoor rooms’ with places to sit and
rest whilst also functioning as secure places for social gatherings, workshops and
meetings to discuss community issues.