At its heart, Akanyang is a social learning environment where students can gather to learn in new and interactive ways. The building emphasises the University’s contemporary approach to education, by providing safe educational and leisure spaces for the students.
The facility is a southern extension to the existing Huis & Haard building and is nestled in a pedestrian corridor on campus.The proposed design intervention pushes into the pedestrian corridor, which allows the building to interact with passing students and guides them into the space.
The external façade is made up of three architectural components: the concrete box, the roof-scape and the light tower (lift shaft). The concrete structure that hangs into the pedestrian walkway, acts as a signage board for social comment, but also forms a seating bench. The light tower serves as an identifier for the entrance. The roof-scape pushes down the sides of the building to create intrigue to the innerworkings, with controlled glimpses of life within. The operators and end-users of the facility is NAS (The Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences) along with CSA&G (Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender) that have a vision to “understand power, explore diversity, examine difference and imagine inclusivity”.
These values were critical in the design thinking that was applied at Akanyang. Focus was placed on the inclusivity of the facility, ensuring that everything from the public access through to the toilet facilities was all inclusive and gender neutral. The brief and eventual building program required students to be able to gather in a comfortable social environment to learn, rest, meet, discuss, work and even sleep. As such, we wanted students to explore the diversity of spaces offered and to have the freedom to adapt these spaces to their needs.
Everything from the furniture, like the VITRA tool stool, through to the spatial planning was done in a manner that allowed students to mould the space to their needs. The gallery seating could be more private for break-away groups, or function as a lecture venue. The movable wall panels allow students to create pin-up spaces, or small cubicles, that fold away to make a larger space for group activities.
A central part of the CSA&G is student counselling, the program needed to serve not only the public access to the social learning facility, but also ensure student privacy of students visiting the CSA&G. As such, placement of windows to the pedestrian corridor was reduced. Resulting in the roof-scape pushing up against the existing building, to allow northern sun-exposure through a series of skylights.
Additional requirements for the project included the upgrade and refurbishment of the CSA&G offices, the addition of a pedestrian lift, the addition of a retail space that housed a grocery / takeaway store and the upgrade of the existing restroom facilities to ensure they are all inclusive. A building designed with the intention to allow its occupants to learn, socialise and take ownership of the space. Thus, aptly named Akanyang. a Tswana name meaning ‘thinking’.
Material Used :
1. Facade Cladding& Roofing: Sheet metal | GRS GLOBAL ROOFING SOLUTION | Brownbuilt profile
2. Flooring: Vinyl flooring| POLYFLOR | PalettonePUR&Silentflor
3. Façade: Bricks | COROBRIK | Titanium Satin& The Black Brick
4. Interior lighting: Various manufacturers such as: SPAZIO LIGHTING
5. Joinery: Custom made furniture | Make Furniture (Pty) Ltd
6. Interior furniture: Various suppliers such as: CECIL NURSE | OFFIX OFFICE FURNITURE | DIRECT WORX
7. Ceilings: Curved acoustic ceilings | GYPTONE | Big Curve
8. Acoustic Finish: Acoustic Panels | WOVEN IMAGE | EchoPanel