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Securing Our Future – The Design of a Mother and Child Centre for KwaZakhele, Port Elizabeth

Part 2 Project 2011
Nikhil Tricam
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Port Elizabeth South Africa
The South African township condition is a remnant of the Apartheid segregationist urban planning methodology, designed to keep the native Black South African population away from the minority White South African inner city and suburbs. While South Africa as a country has moved on, the legacy of the old planning methodologies remain: Utilitarian, repetitive urban realms, or dormitory suburbs, rich with cultural identity and vibrancy, yet situated in a context which does not represent that. New problems have arisen, primary among which is infant mortality, as a lack of grassroots education on the part of young mothers and families results in many preventable infant deaths. It is to be noted that South Africa among the highest infant mortality rates in the world.

My project focuses on introducing urban spatial and formal hierarchy into the township through the design of an Urban Health Precinct with emphasis on the detailed design of a Mother & Child Centre, in the township of KwaZakhele, Port Elizabeth. The choice of building addresses the lack of adequate healthcare facilities in township areas as well as alarmingly low infant care standards. The project focuses on the investigation of the constituents of nurturing and healing space, as well as the introduction of identity and a sense of place within a historically segregationist, architectural identity-devoid context, manifested in an architecture that is based on phenomenological and humanist critical regionalist design principles. The components of the building include a pre- and post- natal facility, delivery and recovery as well as an educational component to focus the empowerment of women from the community, drawing on their experience as mothers and caregivers to educate younger and first time mothers.

Nikhil Tricam

Mr Andrew Palframan
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