From the Architects:
The design of the new Heideveld Primary school was informed by the need to keep an existing school on the site fully operational until the new building was finished. This constraint, together with the relatively small scale of the site, gave rise to a compact and simple plan form.
The new school is focused around a shared central courtyard, and two secondary covered courtyard spaces, one for the foundation phase classes in a single storey block and the other for intermediate and senior phase classes in a double storey block. The hierarchy of shared spaces is a theme that runs throughout the design of the school. The large snared courtyard allows for outdoor play and assemblies of the entire school, whereas the smaller covered courtyards between the classrooms allow protection from elements and a social area for children of a specific age group.
These protected internal courtyards were a response the harsh Cape winters and severe south easterly winds on the Cape Flats. The courtyards are animated by brightly coloured staircases, circular benches and bold signage. The playful use of colour enlivens the interior spaces and forms part of the identity of the school.
The Grade R block is separated from the other blocks, so as to provide the youngest children with their own outdoor, sunny and protected play area, ablution facilities, and classrooms for age-appropriate learning activities. To allow the school to continue functioning during the building operations, and prevent possible pedestrian conflict on busy Duinefontein Road, the architects located a new access point on Waaihoek Road, and utilised the portion of the site facing Duinefontein Road for sports fields.
Although the 'front door' was turned towards the quiet residential area, the design creates a public face onto Duinefontein Road, through the use of sunscreens, perforated screen walls and bright yellow water towers which act as landmarks the featureless landscape of the Cape Flats.The area outside the school gates was landscaped and traffic calming measures were introduced to slow passing cars and to create a pedestrian-friendly arrival space. A forecourt behind the entrance gates accommodates parking for visitors and teachers and is softened by use of greenery. Brightly coloured vertical perforated sunscreens enliven the forecourt space and shield the interior spaces from the harsh afternoon sun.
Members of the local community are encouraged to make of use of some of the School’s facilities after hours. This resulted in the media centre, hall, computer rooms and administration block being located near the entrance, for ease of access. These facilities lead off a double volume foyer, which affords the building a civic quality. The placement of the administration building overlooking the main entrance gate helped to address client concerns about safety.