TWK Resource Centre – Villiersdorp
TWK Resource Centre – Villiersdorp
Client: VPUU Built Environment & Theewaterskloof Municipality
Contractor: Pennisi Construction
QS: Talani Quantity Surveyors
Landscape Architect: TK-LA
Structural Engineer: By Design
Civil Engineer: Storey Engineering
Fire Engineer: NWE Consulting Engineers
Earth Building Consultants: Eco Design Architects & Consultants
Electrical Engineer: IME Consultants
The Resource Centre serves as a warm, secure container for the most marginalised citizens of the town. It sits across the street from an over-subscribed Primary School and acts as an after school home for children whose parents work long hours on local farms. It also offers a place for those young people, neither in school nor at work.
The facility consists of a two-storey building parallel to the main street, housing ground floor municipal offices. The first floor has a Caretaker’s flat and training room that opens into a double-volume Youth Café – a youth centred hub co-financed by the Department of Social Development of WCG. This provides support activities and access to skills development and job seeker support.
A single storey building perpendicular to this, creates a protected, sunny central square that looks onto a playing court and gardening training centre.
The Resource Centre’s construction invested in skills development, with local youth working under the contractor to erect the main building.
The freestanding Training Rooms were built of sun-dried earth blocks from soil collected on site. The team worked with Andy Horn from Eco Design, with the intention of testing and encouraging the use of this local and free resource as a viable construction material. Local youth, both male and female, were given training in this method of construction and helped build the rooms.
The main building on the street leverages the slope of the site to create an impression of height and prominence, being the only local civic building. The roof slopes counter to the ground contours to create a third level with the best views in Villiersdorp, thus privileging the most vulnerable of its residents.
TKLA landscape architects worked relentlessly with the team, with an extremely tight budget, to create a child centred park-like environment integrating the road reserve into the precinct. This framework will hopefully be a catalyst for future greening of this area.
Funded by the German Development Bank and partnered with the WCG, Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) worked with the residents of Villiersdorp and the TWK Municipality to analyse the whole of Villiersdorp and define a common vision for the town. The resulting Community Action Plan and a Public Investment Framework identified Buitenkant Street as an important spine that connects the town centre to the informal areas.
Within the Street’s precinct, three Focus Areas were selected as strategic public intervention projects that would contribute to the cohesion and safety of Villiersdorp. The Toy Library, aimed at extending resources to support Early Childhood Development in that low income area. On the opposite end of the precinct, the Market is intended to build an economic space for the town that also performs as a public hub. Halfway up Buitenkant Street, is the Resource Centre, a building to address the lack of structured youth programs.
The holistic and inclusive approach taken in the Villiersdorp Resource Centre, and the network of surrounding interventions, aims at developing social cohesion and improving of the lives of the people of Villiersdorp. The resulting Resource Centre, coined “The Dream Factory” by the MEC, achieves that.
Comment from Michael Krause, CEO VPUU
The New Resource Centre is a very relevant building for the community of Villiersdorp. The prominent presence of the building onto the Buitenkant Street reflects the importance of the functions that operate from within. The light and generous spaces with motivating views of the neighbouring mountains inspire and encourage youth to make a positive contribution to society. Designing and building within the regulations with locally sourced earth reflects a remarkable example of the possibilities for youth skills development present in the region. The Resource Centre is loud and proud and is representative of the cohesion it is trying to achieve.
Comment from Tiago Damasceno, Architect and Project Manager, VPUU