Architecture Fabrik

Architecture Fabrik

Community Learning Precinct


Following the success of over 40 Co-Design workshops run over 20 months for the World Design Capital 2014 (WDC2014), the City of Cape Town developed an open source methodology manual to inspire and empower anyone in the public sector to run co-design workshops with communities. Using this methodology, a Co-Design workshop took place in Mpumalanga on the 2nd of June 2016 to lay the conceptual thinking for the Mpumalanga Community Learning Precinct.

The Co-Design workshop process harnesses the collective imagination and community knowledge in order to achieve a user-centric environment with a solid foundation, as an advanced form of public participation. The cross-section of stakeholders replicated, as closely as possible, the mix of stakeholders found in the larger community system. In this case, the key stakeholders were City officials and politicians, the Mpumalanga Peace and Development Trust, community members, project users, NPO’s, the private sector, specialist science centre consultants and the design community, making up a group of about 100 people that attended. This is the first time that eThekwini Municipality has undertaken such a workshop for a public building.


The workshop ran over a full day and generated interactive and conceptual co-created results, geared towards gaining as much feedback as possible to assist in the first stage of the design process in developing a Master Plan.

Primary concerns articulated by the community were crime, drugs, teenage pregnancy, unemployment and under resourced schools. There was urgency for a safe, positive structure where extra mural programmes can take place to improve curriculum based learning along with vibrant, fun and creative activities that exposes the community to the diverse platforms of Information, Science, Arts and Performing Arts.

Sustainable technologies were a strong focus in the ‘visioning’ exercise as were welcoming, flexible spaces with aspirational building forms. It was agreed that the building will be designed to support the strengthening of the community, improve social cohesion, education and wellbeing of children through a consultative process. Opportunities to demonstrate principles through the building functions will also be carefully considered. Alternative Green technologies will also be used and demonstrated as part of the educational experience.


KZN, South Africa
eThekwini Municipality