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Inspirational learning centre constructed using Corobrik’s face brick

Corobrik’s face brick range was carefully selected as the ideal product for the construction of the Thengwe Secondary School maths centre in Mutale, Limpopo – a creative structure designed to inspire the youth.

The construction of the centre was prompted by the constantly improving maths results at Thengwe Secondary. Funded by the Anglo American Chairman’s Fund, the 1200m2 centre has been built using Corobrik’s Wolkberg Honey Satin face bricks, chosen to match the existing school infrastructure. The project, which was contracted to Bedrock Construction and Consulting, was completed in March 2017.

The secondary school is in high demand because of its dedication to the pupils which has seen a matric pass rate of more than 85% since 1987. And, despite a capacity for 1 200 pupils, the school has more than 2 000 enrolled, because of the area’s dire need for such quality education. To meet this need, construction of the maths’ centre –  a new building adjacent to the existing school – began in 2014.

Musa Shangase, Corobrik’s Commercial Director, said that face brick was often the first choice for school projects.

“Corobrik’s clay face brick is well-suited to the school environment where the inspired product creates an engaging environment of learning and growth. We want the school buildings to inspire heightened levels of enthusiasm for learning, to instil a passion for academics.”

He said that with such large classroom numbers, it was essential that the product reduced unnecessary noise – a sound insulation feature that makes up the clay brick – ensuring that the pupils could get the most out of a school day in a peaceful work environment.

Commenting on the construction, Craig Hohls of East Coast Architects, said: “We opted to incorporate this face brick, not only to refer to existing buildings, but also to integrate the new structure in terms of materiality.”

“In a school environment, there is a need for robust, low maintenance materials to handle the traffic of learners and the school equipment. The existing school has shown the resilience and reliability of face brick in this context. Face brick also looks good for a long period of time and has colour, texture and variation creating a visual interest.”

While constructing the centre, Hohls said a variety of passive design features were used including solar shading, natural light and ventilation as well as thermal mass and insulation. To reduce costs and boost the local economy, local labour and materials were used. For environmental sustainability, rainwater harvesting was incorporated into the design along with green roofs and intelligent lighting.

“Corobrik’s Tuscan Blend paver was used as nosing for stairs and pathways,” explained Hohls. “When it comes to protecting the edge of a stair or surface bed, bullnose pavers are one of the most effective as they are able to take constant high traffic better than other finishes.”

According to Shangase, clay face brick and pavers, overall, respond well to harsh conditions, both climatically and occupationally, which often makes them the preferred choice for projects such as these.

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