AFRIKAANSE HOËR MEISIESKOOL PRETORIA
ADDITIONS + ALTERATIONS TO EC STEIJN HALL
Commissioned by Miss Steijn, then principal, the original hall was designed by Burg Lodge Burg in the architectural language of the day. This was a conscious decision to not mimic the architectural style of the buildings on site. With these additions, funded by Miss Steijn’s inheritance, the architects wanted to continue in this bold tradition, designing true to the contemporary architectural spirit while respecting the old. Though the hall is not protected by heritage legislation, an NID was submitted to the heritage agencies due to the architects’ passion of preserving the modernist legacy and the memory of this iconic institution. Using the Burra Charter, contemporary design was juxtaposed with the existing, with the old and new clearly separate.
The program called for an extension to accommodate the matric class and a new foyer. A gallery was placed on top of the hall, saving land and retaining the 60’s façade. The architects reverted to a ‘strap-on’ concept, like Herzog and de Meuron’s CaixaForum. Externally a steel channel is used to distinguish the old and new – a shadow line during the day and a strip LED light at night – while inside the existing concrete beam is exposed. Like Scharoun’s Berlin Philharmonic Hall and the modernist philosophy the acoustics, sight lines and ventilation generated the design.
Existing materials influenced the new, with similar materials used, and new shapes, like the fire escape wall, were influenced by the existing façade. Existing materials were re-used, including the parquet floors and entrance door, where future generations will pass through just as previous ones. The new facebrick contrasts with the existing, tying the building to the rest of the school, where a similar brick was used. The existing organ was moved, refurbished in dark grey and renamed the Phantom Lady.
The new structure above has random off-white sheeting cladding. It mimics the clouds, making the addition almost disappear on a cloudy day, and the light colour aids in temperature control while adjustable louvers let out hot air. The internal staircase has a window-skylight at the end, illuminating and expressing the function, with a graphic image of Miss Steijn.
Art was used extensively as architectural elements. A new garden surrounds the Bokkie by Elly Holm; Elza Dziomba’s sculpture Idealisme is visible through the new foyer with Willem Boshoff’s Kompasroos on the floor. Down the passage Ontkenning 3, by Fransi Phillips, is visible, Sanna Swart sculpted the main entrance’s door handles and outside the school’s coat of arms appears sculptural.
This project allowed for an iconic, poetic solution to a difficult problem, with the children experiencing this sensitive design intervention first hand. The building was designed to instil confidence in the future, providing a sense of achievement and celebrating the continuing influence of Afrikaans as an academic language.
7 April 2020
Afrikaans Hoër Meisies vier 100 jaar met ‘kunstige’ veranderinge aan geboue
Christelle Webb-Joubert visits the Afrikaans Hoër Meisies School in Pretoria to celebrate their centenary. Architect Pieter Mathews discusses the artistic changes to the school.
AFRIKAANSE HOËR MEISIESKOOL PRETORIA, ADDITIONS + ALTERATIONS TO EC STEIJN HALL MAAA AHMP Affies, PIA, Heritage,
Mathews and Associates Architects cc is an award winning architectural and design practice which was formed in November 2000. Our practice consists of Pieter J Mathews as lead architect supported by a dynamic team of colleagues and support staff. As a dynamic and innovative company we understand the importance of technology. Our office is fully equipped with the latest graphics, construction sharing and architectural 3-D software on the market. Our numerous awards bear testimony to our skills and talent. Herewith a list of projects undertaken Publications
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