St. Joseph’s Home

Western Cape, South Africa
Learning and healing through natural play experiences

Multifunctional play spaces allow children to connect with nature and escape into a world of fun and friends.

At the St. Joseph’s Home care facility for children with life limiting and life-threatening illnesses, play is an essential part of facilitating healing and recovery.

Faced with an expansive, harsh and exposed site with a limited budget, the brief was to provide diverse play environments for children of different ages and severity of conditions.

Awards: 2022
SALI Awards: Double Gold Award of Excellence
Client: St. Joseph’s Home For Critically Ill Children and St Joseph’s School
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Status: Built 2021
Size: 8200 sqm
Partners and Sponsors: Afrilandscapes, Synsport, Afrimat, Bera, Corobrik, GVK-Siya Zama, Habitat, JKT Rocks, Just Trees, Naco, The Pole Yard, Reliance, Pink Geranium, Shadowlands, Smartstone
Typology: Educational

With limited resources and complex constraints, how is learning, exercise, and enjoyment encouraged at St. Joseph’s Home?

The design creates a safe and enticing environment to foster learning and healing through natural play experiences.

Strategies included the re-purposing of site sand for sandbag construction and tree trunks as climbing frames. Sandbag topography provides shelter from the wind and a challenging adventure playscape.

Broken and disused equipment and materials were upcycled for new structures. Rain gardens were converted into habitat areas for exploration, learning, and play. Diverse social interactions were enhanced with a variety of formal and informal play areas.

Square One sourced donations of equipment and materials for the project.

A lasting impact on well-being, encouraging children to be adaptable and resilient as they grow.