The Outreach Foundation is the first piece of social infrastructure to have been built in Hillbrow since the mid-1970s. It is one of the largest light-weight steel buildings to be built in South Africa and brings together the many social development functions of an NGO into a single space. It includes a computer centre, a dance studio, a boardroom and offices.
Local Studio was given the opportunity to pitch for this commission against several other established practices – at this time Local Studio only consisted of two people and had built very little. The pitch took the form of a glass box floating above the site, invisible from everywhere in Hillbrow.
The design process followed a typical program-driven form approach in the vein of OMA. The building developed a unique character once the structural and material choices had been made and design development was considered carefully to express the polycarbonate and chromadek cladding. These material choices were governed by the need to create an iconic and contrasting presence in Hillbrow.
Challenges have arisen regarding thermal bridging and acoustic insulation between the dance floor and the computer centre, however it has, for the most part, been a big success. It has become an important destination for youth in Hillbrow and has won several major architectural awards, including the inaugural Saint Gobain award in 2015.