For the love of green architectural design

Saturday November 4 2017

Joe Slovo West Community Project

The view from inside the ‘bottle’ wall of the Joe Slovo West Community Project in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By BAMUTARAKI MUSINGUZI
More by this Author

The Joe Slovo West Community Project, in Joe Slovo Township, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, a green community centre, was the only architectural and green building and social project nominated for the 2017 Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA).

The centre is praised for its high social impact and creatively tackling various layers of community needs.

“It was great being nominated for Design Indaba’s 2017 MBOISA award. And even though we didn’t win, we were the only architectural and green building nominated to a platform that is dominated by industrial, product and fashion design,” said its creator, Kenyan-born architect Kevin Kimwelle.

“The nomination highlighted social change and how green design can mitigate that. Hopefully more community or socially aware designers and architects will provide greener and socially aware community solutions,” he added.

Kimwelle, born and raised in Nairobi but now a 13-year resident of South Africa, describes himself as a community architect, and believes in recycling, the use of scrap wood, metal and bottles.

He says that in his travels to various African countries, he realised that many modern architectural developments do not uplift the communities in which they are built, focusing on profit despite the damage to the community and environment. 

Kimwelle is also behind the construction of the Masifunde Education Centre — a green education building in Gqebera (Walmer) Township in Port Elizabeth that engages and promotes creativity and the green agenda among the youth. The project construction was expected to be completed in July 2017.

“I designed the Masifunde Change Maker Academy in Gqebera Township on the periphery of the central business district and although it is more conventional, it is uses solar energy and rainwater capture and water recycling to reduce its foot print. It also relooks at the idea of education and creating spaces that are flexible and more conducive to learning,” he says. 

In 2012, Kimwelle designed the extension of the Alliance Française building in Port Elizabeth, a green project that was meant to live up to the challenge of green design in a heritage sensitive area. The project was completed in 2015.

Now, the Joe Slovo West Community Project stands as a testimony to Kimwelle’s fidelity to green design. Completed in September 2015, the multidisciplinary project was a renovation and expansion of a nursery school funded by local non-profit organisation Love Story. The organisation emphasised the involvement of local citizens rather than a foreign company to incorporate local user and environmental concerns. 

The Joe Slovo West Community Project in Port Elizabeth.

The Joe Slovo West Community Project in Port Elizabeth. Right, Architect Kevin Kimwelle. PHOTOS | COURTESY

The walls of the centre were constructed using approximately 1,500 discarded wine bottles that shimmer in the sunlight, offsetting the rustic beauty of a building made from recyclable materials — reflecting Kimwelle’s cost-effective and environmentally conscious approach to building design.

Kimwelle says they had to do a lot of collecting of recyclash(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1504265253500-0'); });

For the love of green architectural design

Saturday November 4 2017

Joe Slovo West Community Project

The view from inside the ‘bottle’ wall of the Joe Slovo West Community Project in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By BAMUTARAKI MUSINGUZI
More by this Author

The Joe Slovo West Community Project, in Joe Slovo Township, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, a green community centre, was the only architectural and green building and social project nominated for the 2017 Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA).

The centre is praised for its high social impact and creatively tackling various layers of community needs.

“It was great being nominated for Design Indaba’s 2017 MBOISA award. And even though we didn’t win, we were the only architectural and green building nominated to a platform that is dominated by industrial, product and fashion design,” said its creator, Kenyan-born architect Kevin Kimwelle.

“The nomination highlighted social change and how green design can mitigate that. Hopefully more community or socially aware designers and architects will provide greener and socially aware community solutions,” he added.

Kimwelle, born and raised in Nairobi but now a 13-year resident of South Africa, describes himself as a community architect, and believes in recycling, the use of scrap wood, metal and bottles.

He says that in his travels to various African countries, he realised that many modern architectural developments do not uplift the communities in which they are built, focusing on profit despite the damage to the community and environment. 

Kimwelle is also behind the construction of the Masifunde Education Centre — a green education building in Gqebera (Walmer) Township in Port Elizabeth that engages and promotes creativity and the green agenda among the youth. The project construction was expected to be completed in July 2017.

“I designed the Masifunde Change Maker Academy in Gqebera Township on the periphery of the central business district and although it is more conventional, it is uses solar energy and rainwater capture and water recycling to reduce its foot print. It also relooks at the idea of education and creating spaces that are flexible and more conducive to learning,” he says. 

In 2012, Kimwelle designed the extension of the Alliance Française building in Port Elizabeth, a green project that was meant to live up to the challenge of green design in a heritage sensitive area. The project was completed in 2015.

Now, the Joe Slovo West Community Project stands as a testimony to Kimwelle’s fidelity to green design. Completed in September 2015, the multidisciplinary project was a renovation and expansion of a nursery school funded by local non-profit organisation Love Story. The organisation emphasised the involvement of local citizens rather than a foreign company to incorporate local user and environmental concerns. 

The Joe Slovo West Community Project in Port Elizabeth.

The Joe Slovo West Community Project in Port Elizabeth. Right, Architect Kevin Kimwelle. PHOTOS | COURTESY

The walls of the centre were constructed using approximately 1,500 discarded wine bottles that shimmer in the sunlight, offsetting the rustic beauty of a building made from recyclable materials — reflecting Kimwelle’s cost-effective and environmentally conscious approach to building design.

Kimwelle says they had to do a lot of collecting of recyclash(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1504265253500-0'); });

For the love of green architectural design

Saturday November 4 2017

Joe Slovo West Community Project

The view from inside the ‘bottle’ wall of the Joe Slovo West Community Project in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By BAMUTARAKI MUSINGUZI
More by this Author

The Joe Slovo West Community Project, in Joe Slovo Township, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, a green community centre, was the only architectural and green building and social project nominated for the 2017 Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA).

The centre is praised for its high social impact and creatively tackling various layers of community needs.

“It was great being nominated for Design Indaba’s 2017 MBOISA award. And even though we didn’t win, we were the only architectural and green building nominated to a platform that is dominated by industrial, product and fashion design,” said its creator, Kenyan-born architect Kevin Kimwelle.

“The nomination highlighted social change and how green design can mitigate that. Hopefully more community or socially aware designers and architects will provide greener and socially aware community solutions,” he added.

Kimwelle, born and raised in Nairobi but now a 13-year resident of South Africa, describes himself as a community architect, and believes in recycling, the use of scrap wood, metal and bottles.

He says that in his travels to various African countries, he realised that many modern architectural developments do not uplift the communities in which they are built, focusing on profit despite the damage to the community and environment. 

Kimwelle is also behind the construction of the Masifunde Education Centre — a green education building in Gqebera (Walmer) Township in Port Elizabeth that engages and promotes creativity and the green agenda among the youth. The project construction was expected to be completed in July 2017.

“I designed the Masifunde Change Maker Academy in Gqebera Township on the periphery of the central business district and although it is more conventional, it is uses solar energy and rainwater capture and water recycling to reduce its foot print. It also relooks at the idea of education and creating spaces that are flexible and more conducive to learning,” he says. 

In 2012, Kimwelle designed the extension of the Alliance Française building in Port Elizabeth, a green project that was meant to live up to the challenge of green design in a heritage sensitive area. The project was completed in 2015.

Now, the Joe Slovo West Community Project stands as a testimony to Kimwelle’s fidelity to green design. Completed in September 2015, the multidisciplinary project was a renovation and expansion of a nursery school funded by local non-profit organisation Love Story. The organisation emphasised the involvement of local citizens rather than a foreign company to incorporate local user and environmental concerns. 

The Joe Slovo West Community Project in Port Elizabeth.

The Joe Slovo West Community Project in Port Elizabeth. Right, Architect Kevin Kimwelle. PHOTOS | COURTESY

The walls of the centre were constructed using approximately 1,500 discarded wine bottles that shimmer in the sunlight, offsetting the rustic beauty of a building made from recyclable materials — reflecting Kimwelle’s cost-effective and environmentally conscious approach to building design.

Kimwelle says they had to do a lot of collecting of recycla