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Oppie Koppie Creche Hamlet

The design process of the Hamlet Creche was startet in 2010 collaborating with the local government and the community of Hamlet. The task here was to design and build a kindergarden of approximately 300 m2 for 80 children and can also host neighbourhood meetings, adult and parental education classes.

The kindergarden building is linear and set under a large roof. Three classrooms are divided in age groups from 0- 5 years and host the children for the entire day, including breakfast and lunch. To provide meals for the children and staff, a large kitchen and eating areas in the outside were designed. To cover the need of poor people in the adjacent township a soup kitchen was installed. Meals are handed out during lunch time.

Next to the 3 classrooms a kitchen, office, laundry room, storage and sanitary facilities are located. The classrooms have built-in furniture and two of them can be combined by a sliding door to host neighbourhood meetings or parental education classes.


Images and Plans

Technical Description

The timber/ clay building has a reinforced base plate. Two different wall types were chosen for the exterior. The northern wall was constructed as 25 cm thick adobe mud brick wall with lime-clay plaster on both sides.

The bricks were self-made on the site. The south, east and west walls are conventional timber-framed walls cladded with plywood on the inside for stiffening. These walls consists of loosly stacked recycled industrial clay bricks as thermal mass and thermal insulation on the outside. The southern wall was cladded with weathered timber boards recycled from old wooden fruit crates, while the roof folds down to cover the short walls with trapezoidal metal sheets.

The interior walls are bearing the vertical loads from the roof structure and are constructed as timber-framed walls cladded with double plywood panels. The roof consists of a prefabricated modular timber construction; the interwined zick-zack-shaped beams creating a fold-like structure have been covered with plywood spannig 5.4 meters. Hot summers but also relatively cold winters with temperatures below zero degrees and sometimes snowfall characterize the climate of Prince Alfred Hamlet. By using the natural mass of mud bricks and the concrete slab the heat energy of the low sun in winter can be stored to have a constant pleasant interior temperature even on cold days. In winter the systems reverses and a cooling of the building in summer can be provided.


Project Architects: Bernadette Heiermann, Judith Reitz

Structural Engineers: Christoph Koj, Arne Künstler, Martin Trautz





Vuya!Investment LTD Cape TownMercia Isaacs
Lehrstuhl Für Tragkonstruktionen RWTH Aachen (Teacher/Educator)
FinancingHenkel Friendship Initiative.e.V.


Architecture 47 Students


Project Start:2008
Year of Completion:2010