CIFA Merit Award 2009: Thusong Services Centre (Khayelitsha)

Thusong Services Centre, Khayelitsha.


In 2009, Makeka Design Lab’s work with the Thusong Services Centre won a CIFA Merit Award

The building was intended to be the first phase of a series of receptacles which would support the ongoing development of institutions and offer an alternative language to the prevalent delivery strategies of the township development.

Situated at the corner of Steve Biko and Walter Sisulu roads the Thusong Services Centre, formerly known as the Khayelitsha Multi Purpose Centre, emphasises its urban statement by creating a strong outside/inside relationship.

The Intention was to create a centre with a powerful civic presence. This was achieved by the strong rectangle massing of the building with playful facades. The four facades of the building vary, creating a different experience from different lines of access. While the building seeks a civic presence, a sense of levity is created by the natural light entering the building via the saw-tooth roof, the Lexan sheeting on the west facade, the white walls and the subtle play of shadow on the roof terrace created by timber pergola and the punctuated facades. The building is grounded by the gabion wall filled Table Mountain sandstone, separating the foyer area from the sports court, and the concrete elements that hold the building together. The limited palette of colours and materials is made dynamic by attention paid to the detailing of the building, the effects of light and the differences in textures.

The building desired an aesthetically pleasing and functional resolution, using light and materiality to create a foreground sense of place- a building which is long-lasting, of high quality and offers universal architectural joys that defy the widespread connotations associated with townships.