SPU INFRASTRUCTURE

21st century campus design and architecture for new universities

As one of South Africa’s first two new institutions of higher learning since 1994, Sol Plaatje University (SPU) is envisaged as a symbol of our new order of democracy, inclusiveness, growth and opportunity.

From the perspective of urban design it demands that the institution is both a  centre of academic quality, excellence, innovation, relevant to and engaged within its settings and able to create a growing knowledge environment of the highest standard. Since the start of the infrastructure programme R1,5 billion has been invested in the development of the two new universities enabling both to start their academic programmes in a variety of renovated and purpose-built new buildings on fledging campuses.

The challenge for these new universities was to adapt innovative ideas regarding the release of knowledge development and exchange of information from traditionally isolated activities tied only to lecture halls, laboratories and libraries, and to integrate the development and exchange of knowledge into the campus design and the new buildings. In spatial terms a number of principles drive the design of the infrastructure and architecture of both universities;

– The campus integration with its host city

– Shared space as a driver for the campus plan

– Accommodating students

– Student and staff mobility

– Collaboration and exchange of ideas

– Environmental sustainability.

In order to support the academic mission all solutions to physical planning needed to be comprehensive, with nothing considered in isolation. Issues of building placement, traffic and parking, engineering systems and aesthetics were all woven together to form a tapestry of buildings and spaces that foster a successful academic community.

The university campuses were designed with the understanding that students come to shared spaces with simple needs; rest, relaxation, recreation and respite, but the spaces also enable chance meetings, foster exchange, stimulating ideas, giving hope and a sense of possibilities. The idea of sharing, which is a particularly positive African notion, is reinforced by the provision of multiple common spaces on the campus ranging from focal squares, to parks and tranquil courtyards

 

Accommodating Students

An important characteristic of a great city is that it also has a good university. Here is the nexus that aligns the development strategies of the city and the University and that demands of SPU to develop and sustain high quality, exciting academic programmes that will be attractive to staff and students from the region and beyond to learn, work and live in Kimberley.

 

Most South African university campuses are dominated by private vehicular movement and parking zones. Not only does this detract negatively from the quality of the campus environment, but it also drains valuable resources from the academic programme. Planning for a more balanced movement network entails a fundamental shift of focus onto non-motorised transport and the pedestrian. 

In the past architects designed campus buildings to meet the needs of specific programmes or faculty. It was assumed that the programmes would never change, and buildings were constructed accordingly; solid and often inflexible. But no more. At both new universities, flexible and resilient building design is the point of departure.

The development of the new universities offers an opportunity to showcase best practice in environmentally sustainable architecture and infrastructure development.

To realise healthy and comfortable buildings, strategies founded in response to local condition are a necessity. Information on local climate, wind, sun exposure and temperatures for the two respective areas were fundamental to the design of buildings, infrastructure and outdoor environments.

The development of the new universities offers an opportunity to showcase best practice in environmentally sustainable architecture and infrastructure development.

As the first new universities to be developed since 1994, the architectural language strives to be representative of our democracy, expressing a deep understanding of its sense of place. 

Whilst both universities are designed to be of their place and of a distinct African appeal, the architecture is further underpinned by “dignified utility”, that is both essential and economical. This sees the emergence of an architecture that is being of, and recognizable as part of South Africa.

INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATE

SPU is its way to preparing new buildings for 2020 and 2021. SPU in response to the local community call to be involved in the Capital Developments projects procured 9 contractors: Major Works, Medium and Refurbishment Works, Small Works and Civil Works. 

This has provided for 6 local contractors to be involved. The Major Works Contractors will be involved in the Incubation Programme which provides further opportunities for work as subcontractors. 

Those on the Incubation Programme are mentored by Northern Cape Public Works Department Construction Mentors, Finance Management Instruction from the local SEDA and potential help from the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

The main contractors appointed will complete buildings on the Science and Education Precincts on Central Campus and the Bulk Services Building and a Student Canteen on South Campus.

Planned on Central Campus for occupation at the beginning of 2020 is the Natural and Applied Sciences (NAS) Academics Office Building which includes a 165 seater raked auditorium and offices for the Head of School and Heads of Departments. Mid-year 2020 the NAS Applied Sciences Building will be available. This building contains on the ground and 1st Floor, 2 x 320 seater raked auditoriums, 2 x 180 seater raked auditoriums and 4 x 90 seater classrooms which will increase the generic classroom options substantially. Also mid-year 2020 the Arts Block, designed for both Humanities and Education will be available. This building includes facilities for the Education Foundation Phase and Humanities Heritage Programmes.

South Campus will see the building of an iconic concrete building housing all the bulk storage water requirements, potable water, fire water, grey-water and their associated filtration and pumping systems. Also included here are the standby-generator, LV Metering and the chillers for TABS (Thermal Activated Building System). Once the contractor has completed this building he will proceed on to a Student Dining Room which will be open from 7H00 until 21H30 in order to provide meals for the Student Housing in South Campus and adjacent properties.

The appointed Medium and Refurbishment Contractors have commenced with two projects for completion in 2019. The final phase of the upgrade to Luka Jantjie House; this upgrade will be done in three stages as the current classes and staff in the building have to be accommodated and Health, Safety and Security maintained through the process. The other building will be the much awaited upgrade of the Community Hall and the building of a Staff Recreational and Mini Conference Centre on South Campus.

 

The appointment of Civil Contractors will able the use of our current tranche from the Northern Cape NLC in the building of a combination cricket oval and 2 rugby/soccer fields, i.e. the cricket pitch lies between the two soccer/rugby fields. In addition to this the full extent of South Campus will be served with ring mains which carry electricity, data fibre optic, water (potable and fire), waste water (grey water for irrigation), sewerage and the TABS supply to all future buildings on South Campus.

The appointment of Civil Contractors will able the use of our current tranche from the Northern Cape NLC in the building of a combination cricket oval and 2 rugby/soccer fields, i.e. the cricket pitch lies between the two soccer/rugby fields.

In addition to this the full extent of South Campus will be served with ring mains which carry electricity, data fibre optic, water (potable and fire), waste water (grey water for irrigation), sewerage and the TABS supply to all future buildings on South Campus.

On Central Campus, work with include the full upgrade of Scanlan Road including the pedestrian crossing between the Central Campus Square and the Education Precinct ensuring that both are connected as Central Campus.

Further to this is the upgrade to the N8/N12 traffic lights into a five entry point circle the same size as the Monument Circle on the N8.

The provision of the circle will make the peak traffic movement at this point easier and with less restrictive flow.

Civil works also include the external works and landscaping, soft and hard, around each new building.

The main contractors appointed will complete buildings on the Science and Education Precincts on Central Campus and the Bulk Services Building and a Student Canteen on South Campus.

Planned on Central Campus for occupation at the beginning of 2020 is the Natural and Applied Sciences (NAS) Academics Office Building which includes a 165 seater raked auditorium and offices for the Head of School and Heads of Departments. Mid-year 2020 the NAS Applied Sciences Building will be available. This building contains on the ground and 1st Floor, 2 x 320 seater raked auditoriums, 2 x 180 seater raked auditoriums and 4 x 90 seater classrooms which will increase the generic classroom options substantially. Also mid-year 2020 the Arts Block, designed for both Humanities and Education will be available. This building includes facilities for the Education Foundation Phase and Humanities Heritage Programmes.

South Campus will see the building of an iconic concrete building housing all the bulk storage water requirements, potable water, fire water, grey-water and their associated filtration and pumping systems. Also included here are the standby-generator, LV Metering and the chillers for TABS (Thermal Activated Building System). Once the contractor has completed this building he will proceed on to a Student Dining Room which will be open from 7H00 until 21H30 in order to provide meals for the Student Housing in South Campus and adjacent properties.

The appointed Medium and Refurbishment Contractors have commenced with two projects for completion in 2019. The final phase of the upgrade to Luka Jantjie House; this upgrade will be done in three stages as the current classes and staff in the building have to be accommodated and Health, Safety and Security maintained through the process. The other building will be the much awaited upgrade of the Community Hall and the building of a Staff Recreational and Mini Conference Centre on South Campus.

 

The appointment of Civil Contractors will able the use of our current tranche from the Northern Cape NLC in the building of a combination cricket oval and 2 rugby/soccer fields, i.e. the cricket pitch lies between the two soccer/rugby fields. In addition to this the full extent of South Campus will be served with ring mains which carry electricity, data fibre optic, water (potable and fire), waste water (grey water for irrigation), sewerage and the TABS supply to all future buildings on South Campus.

The appointment of Civil Contractors will able the use of our current tranche from the Northern Cape NLC in the building of a combination cricket oval and 2 rugby/soccer fields, i.e. the cricket pitch lies between the two soccer/rugby fields.

In addition to this the full extent of South Campus will be served with ring mains which carry electricity, data fibre optic, water (potable and fire), waste water (grey water for irrigation), sewerage and the TABS supply to all future buildings on South Campus.

On Central Campus, work with include the full upgrade of Scanlan Road including the pedestrian crossing between the Central Campus Square and the Education Precinct ensuring that both are connected as Central Campus.

Further to this is the upgrade to the N8/N12 traffic lights into a five entry point circle the same size as the Monument Circle on the N8.

The provision of the circle will make the peak traffic movement at this point easier and with less restrictive flow.

Civil works also include the external works and landscaping, soft and hard, around each new building.

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