Botha’s Halte School

Western Cape, South Africa
Nature based solutions for leading learning environments

A rural primary school in South Africa uses nature to create a multifunctional play and learning experience.

By incorporating the best practice principles for resilient design, the landscape is now a fun and creative learning environment that students, teachers and community celebrate.

Faced with limited prefabricated classrooms, harsh winds and temperatures, Botha’s Halte fought an uphill battle to create a supportive learning environment.

Client: Bosjes Estate, Western Cape Education Department
Awards: 2020
ILASA Merit Award of Excellence
LILA Shortlisted Project
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Status: Built 2019
Size: 4.5 ha
Partners/Consultants: Meyer & Associates, 2ii Consulting, Cegela, Bührmann Consulting Engineers
Typology: Educational

So what innovative environmental initiatives have created an inspiring haven for learners?

The integrated outdoor play environment is sunken to provide shelter from the winds and rain. With varying terrain for active play it caters for a range of ages and capability levels, and focusses on tactile and natural play. Rockeries, sand pits and natural materials were incorporated to create an interactive environment to allow natural expression and learning through play.

Rethinking site water management creates a welcoming and resilient statement at the school entrance. While creating new microclimates, habitats, and outdoor laboratories, the water is also harvested for ablutions and irrigation of the school grounds.

Accessible green roofs insulate the buildings from the extreme temperatures in the valley. They include a wide range of indigenous species promoting a sensory learning experience.

The vegetable gardens and orchards provide learning opportunities and food for lunches as well as produce for the adjacent wine estate restaurants.

Locally endangered vegetation is rehabilitated and celebrated as part of the natural heritage and identity of the community while minimising the school’s environmental footprint.

Nature-based solutions promote physical and cognitive development for school kids