Sustainable by design 2050

An initiative of the UIA

Velux model home 2020




Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre

Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
Laingsburg Multi-Purpose Centre
CS Studio Architects
Structural Engineer: Luke de Cruz cc, Electrical Engineer: Jim Kidger, Project Manager: John Martin, Poet: Dianne Ferrus
Further Specialists
Sculptor: Willie Bester
Africa - South Africa - Laingsburg
Climate Zone
Design status
Date of completion
Mixed use
Site area (m²)
Footprint (m²)
GFA (m²)
Building Costs
60000 EUR
Building Costs / m² GFA
Cooling / Heating-System

All Passive

Use of renewable ressources - low tech
natural cross ventilation, wind towers, use of high thermal mass, others
Renewable, recycled, recyclable and innovative materials

The existing structures on site were recycled and used in the finishes. All handrails and metalwork was recycled from scrapmetal from surrounding farms.

Key Sustainability aspects
vernacular building strategies, public spaces, accessability for disabled, renewable building materials, recycling and reuse, ecological building materials, innovative bulding materials, integrated planning process, participation of users in planning process, low cost design, use of innovative design tools, zero energy design
Sustainability rated
Social and ethical responsibility

The concept was developed over a series of design meetings. The following had to be considered: The rich fauna and flora environment of the area, the flood of September 1981, the windmill as a symbol of the Karoo, the train and the water scorpion. (Cape Town based palaeontologist John Arnold discovered the track way of a gigantic water scorpion, or eurypterid, in the 260 million year old marine rocks, near Laingsburg. Local mythology soon translated the water scorpion to the "water kriek".) Secondly, we had to incorporate locally trained people in metalwork and electrical skills during the construction process.
The two existing shed like buildings were taken apart and recycled. The roofs were extended to become single, mono-pitched roofs with large overhangs creating outdoor shaded areas at different times of the day.

Ressource efficiency and environmental impact

The existing roofing material was re-used as vertical cladding to the spine of the building, as well as on the newly created first floor office component. The metalwork executed by the local trainees that were trained by Willie Bester, was a very rewarding process. All the buildings' handrails were made from farmyard scrap and painted a blue purple for decorative purposes. A clear reference from many locals was that the floodwater of 1981 raged through the town like ‘an angry red bull'. The result was
the request by the community to paint the building a symbolic red.

Economic lifecycle perfomance

The project recycles the two existing structures by extending the steel structure. The bricks and metal sheeting are all reused. The building also focusses on passive energy systems. Rooflights are used for natural lighting. Natural ventilation is pulled in at a low level and ventilated out through 'whirley birds' on the roofs. All handrails are made from recycled materials.

Contextual performance and impact

Laingsburg is a rural Karoo town 280km from Cape Town on the N1. Its history dates back to the mid - 1700's, when the area was established to grow fresh produce for travelers. The site ERF1884 is located on the corner of Main Road and Third Avenue, Goldnerville - the historically ‘non white' area. The site was chosen after a process of community consultation. It was an old rugby field which had two existing shed like structures. We were tasked with transforming these existing structures into a dynamic environment, which would attract travelers and the local residents alike.