Crossways Primary School

Crossways Primary School

crossways | eastern cape | south africa


The design of a rural primary school situated in the new rural farm village of Crossways — currently under development and being the initiative of Dr. Chris Mulder of CMAI. The development is situated to the west of Gqberha.

  • The investigation into and the planning and making of space that enables and fosters the excitement of learning.
  • Investigate and respond to the spatial needs and anthropomorphic of children aged 3-6 (for the after-care and pre-school programs).
  • The development of an appropriate aesthetic for a building project having technically dedicated function as well as an educational and enrichment function.
  • The 3-dimentional resolution of a small, but complex, public facility.


This design came about through one main theme: to create spaces where all children experience maximum comfort.  A prominent South-Wes and South-East wind is not uncommon on site — therefore the decision was made to create a barrier with the classrooms and play areas on the other side.  To the North, a spectacular panoramic view encapsulates serendipity with a valley, leading to a stream and dam, and eventually beyond the valley, a breath-taking pine grove; a green carpet.  Creating spaces orientated to the North is not just as a result of a pretty picture; natural sunlight is easily incorporated; solar energy could also be generated through means of North-facing PV panels.

Each classroom is either partially covered with a landscaped (grassed) flatroof — providing substantial insulation for each classroom and doubles up as a sustainable irrigation system. The radial design allows for interaction between various classes — aiding social skills and general interaction.  This type of “horse-shoe” style not only shelters from the Southern winds, but also functions as a psychological safe haven.

  • Shelter from southern gusts
  • Spectacular views to the north
  • Natural sunlight in all classrooms
  • Opportunity for solar power/energy


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