Category Archives: SCHOOLclass


schap MZAMBA ´16

Design-build project with students of the Carinthia University of Applied Science, Ithuba Wild Coast School, local team of parents, neighbours and craftsmen.

The consultation and working framework with various stakeholders and partners – NGO, client, university, local management and user is followed by the investigation of climatic, social and economic assets and set up of design-brief for students.


The project had been guided by the wish of clients for a classroom unit for Grade 5,6,7 learners as well as multifunctional teachers room. In the design process the team decided on a 2-step plan of construction and the focus on fast implementation with local material and skilled team. Several design proposals were investigated in smaller teams and later joint according to feasibility, spatial qualities and collaborative decision-making.


Positioning classrooms according to masterplan, terrain, sun and climatic conditions the unit enables various courtyards, seating, entry points, rainwater collection and a viewing platform. The mirrored, repetitive plan and the use of easily available wood profiles, concrete blocks and burnt clay bricks support the collaborative construction process.


The architecture students pass through all steps of design and planning to public relations and fundraising of building material, wages and side costs.
Additional input could be established by incorporating workshops, input-lectures on history, culture, social and economic conditions, local architecture, material and climate as well as development discourse and a code of conduct to broaden approach to architecture.

In term- break students spent their holidays on the actual implementation with members of the local community and craftsmen under the guidance of buildCollective NPO. Exchange is initiated by mixed teams of South African and European members in the construction team and mutual teaching and learning.






Main goal of this full-scale approach in architectural education is the sensitization for responsible handling of resources, diverse actors and trades in construction, and the production of knowledge for all participants.

In sustainable process with local communities, academia and other players an alternative path of applied research and social responsibility can lead to new partnerships reducing the lack of adequate housing or communal facilities.

Opening movie filmed and cut on site for hand-over ceremony by Hadrien Clair.


Fritz Alina Vanessa, Gerner Michaela, Haller Verena, Kral Lukas, Lüftenegger Viktoria, Moser Christian, Napetschnig Alexander Markus, Peieira-Arnstein Daniel, Saje Eva, Steger Daniel Carsten, Wawrzeczko Jakob Jan, Perterer Raphaela, Laura Ciriano, Tobias Küke, Müller Jonas, Teodora Gagovic, Sandra Moser, Gonzalo de Luca, Elias Molitschnig, Daniel Guerra, Anna Weisbrod, Günther Egger, Mavis Dlamini, Nontyatyambo Mditshane, Siyabonga Khuzwayo, Melan Juta, Lonwabo Dlamini, Siyabonga Mxunjini, Pakhamani Ngeleka, Ayesha Dlamini, Thobeko Dlamini, Xolani Mnyamana, Lichael Mbokodi , Bheki Mjomi, Phelisile Dlamini, Andile Mthumbu, Thanduxolo Mnyamani.

Special Thanks to
Jürgen Wirnsberger and Prof. Peter Nigst from CUAS
Jackie du Toit, Thembakazi Makedama  and their team from Ithuba Wild Coast School.
s2arch, Rotary Spittal, Fundermax, build it Port Edward and all financial supporters and suppliers!

For the student´s Facebook page on the project please visit:






photos: Marlene Wagner, Nina Savic
sketch: Jürgen Wirnsberger
videos: Hadrien Clair, Lukas Kral


schap Mzamba Collective

The amazing implementation team!
Andrea Lepuschitz, Anna Fattinger, Aisha Dlamini, Bojan Kerman, Christina Breindl, Christoph Jach, Elisabeth Berta, Elli Tümmler, Florian Anzenberger, Gonzalo de Lucas Moratilla, Günther Egger, Jelena Blagojevic, Jelena Stanojevic, Jürgen P.Wirnsberger, Lukas Kral, Mario Hofer, Melan Juta, Natasa Radakovic, Pakhamani Ngeleka, Peter Nigst, Pia Fletcher, Rene Widmann, Samira Taubmann, Sebastian Schwainberger, Silvia Schreier, Simone Brosame, Simone Kremser, Siyabonga Khuzwayo, Siyabonga Nxunjini, Theresa Pink, Thomas Harlander


schap Mzamba ’14

The schapMzamba Project of the University of Applied Science Carinthia was designed and built by students, guided by build collective and in the execution supported by a local construction team.


The project follows a master plan set up by architect Markus Dobmeier and client organisation s2arch, in order to give the school an overall design-strategy and to respond to climatic conditions.

The classroom is defined by a large red rammed earth wall between two courtyards and surrounded by a protective wall. Ventilation stones offer playful views and many opportunities to access the small village with office and sickroom, two water points and shading serve the user´s experience at different levels.

The user – teachers and staff of the Mzamba School, mainly asked for safety and security from heavy weather, cool air circulation and usable, covered outdoor space.


Roof trusses made of wood are based on concrete pillars similar to the modular design, developed by build collective and FH Kärnten for Ithuba Johannesburg, but are not infilled with organic insulation but as a typical lightweight – with window elements or wood and fiber cement panels. Steel is not suitable because of the proximity to the sea and is only used as secondary structure after galvanising.


The enclosing outer wall is made out of easily available hollow concrete blocks. Advantage of the labor-intensive construction method lays in  the employment of many people, it is cost effective and the local construction team is experienced in handling. In future, this building material, as well as the daily produced in situ ventilation stones, could be produced locally at the school to guarantee long-term income possibility of the local construction and maintenance team.


Plastering and floor screed of the building has been contracted to the construction team under the direction of local craftsman Mteteleli Lichael Mbokodi. Over the last years he could share his knowledge at different projects for the Ithuba Wild Coast School with Phakamani, Siyabonga and others.

More Information on the project team

Documentation by Dario de Nicolo




Primary School UNIT grade 5 to 7


An ecological and affordable modular system with focus on self-building was developed to support skills, autonomy and maintenance.

The wide spread knowledge of working with concrete and steel and the easy accessibility of cement and basic steel profiles provide the opportunity to involve local labor. The loadbearing concrete pillars and steel trusses are produced on site by members of the community and older learners and bought from them – providing an income generation.


The ecological straw-light-clay wall infill was developed from traditional construction methods in South Africa and Europe and transferred in a present context and its demands.

It provides insulation and accumulation within the element for comfortable room climate in winter and summer. Advantage lies on the availability of the prospective users – (financially and geographically) easy to transfer know how, appropriate technology (as no special tools are needed) and is workable for adaption concerning users needs.

The design parameters are orientation with the sun – capturing in winter and shading in summer, natural ventilation, and the modular grid.
The placing of the three classroom units, each with generous covered pathways overlapping each other as a respond to the terrain and to create seating areas, form semi-public courtyards.
Openings are placed to enable cross-ventilation, natural light and surveillance of the kids.

The whole construction process from setting out to interior finish was a collaborative approach between build Collective and local construction team.
A furniture design was developed with teachers and construction team to equip the whole school and to enable a continues production and income generation beyond the main construction phase.


Years of active collaboration with the school and the local construction team on several projects for the Ithuba Community College, foremost the Carinthia University of Applied Science created collective knowledge and experience of resources serving the design process.
The design therefor drives from past project as a learning curve as well as functionality for the school and workability for self-building.
Furthermore it serves the need of housing in the area through its modular construction method, affordability and skills transfer.


Community members and a group of learners were guided thru out the construction process from prefabrication, setting out, foundation, load baring structure, light-clay infill, roofing, plaster and interior.

The collaborative approach enables the broader understanding of design and construction process and enforces skills development up to problem solving ability. This guarantees a sustainable knowledge transfer and maintenance of the building.

Further it supports local economy and direct money flow through contract basis, daily wages or the purchase of building parts.
The local motto “each one – teach one” and a respectful exposure between culture, gender and age group enable the collective creation of space.

The projects success is measured by the satisfaction and comfort of users – teachers, school management, kids and successful maintenance through members of the construction team.


As it is three classroom of the same design, the gained knowledge and skills can be measured in the process. Through a slow backing down of guidance by build collective a more and more autonomous and self-organized construction process is enabled.

Further the continuous production of furniture and building parts.

In addition the construction team could apply their skills in their settlement by building the first straw-light clay building for a local business in their neighborhood.


thanks again to our outstanding local team

Thamsanqa Majeke, Vuyo Gladson Fathela, Sibusiso Ernest, Sifiso Goodman, Bongani Moyana ,Phumlani Dlamini, Sanele Ziqubu, Jerry Mosona, Nhlanhla Lucky, Talent Sithole, Jafi Makhanya, Tebogo Tebza, Raymond Mhlanga, Nathi Kumalo, Melusi Mntambo






check out more work of photographer and architect Leon Krige here: G O T H A M N O C T U R N E S