Westbury Transformation Development Centre
SA Building Review|Volume 8 2020
Can social justice be found through friendly and inclusive design? We think so. The Westbury Transformation Development Centre (TDC) project grapples with the issue of spatial and social justice in a marginalised community.

After 25 years of democracy, one of the legacies of apartheid planning is the many marginalised communities still prevalent in South Africa. These communities are often poorly serviced and have very few public amenities. The public facilities which one can find are often behind a fence, very clearly enforcing exclusion. We decided to challenge this norm through this project and to create a new typology of public facility in South Africa.

With a complex project brief, and multiple enduser stakeholders, the project houses a variety of social development programmes, such as a senior citizens day-care, a food security unit, a greenhouse, a migrant unit, an Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) and offices. The project is centred around creating smaller safe spaces within a larger programme, while providing a generous public space along the street edge of the narrow site, to be used by the community for various social activities.

St Barnabas School the anchoring point

An existing building, the St Barnabas School building, circa 1935, was set to be demolished to make way for the new facility. But through our ground research, it was found to hold an important place as part of the community’s collective memory of the space because many people had attended this school.

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