More than 1 000 primary school pupils in Belhar, Western Cape, are receiving regular meals from the newly-built onsite kitchen constructed using 12 000 Constantia Travertine variation face bricks donated by Corobrik.
Matroosberweg Primary School initiated a feeding programme years back to ensure its pupils, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, were able to eat three meals daily. Although funds were established for the food, the school has been operating the programme from a classroom with insufficient equipment.
The school made contact with CS Studio Architects, a local architecture firm renowned for its community development initiatives, and they set about securing donations for the construction of the feeding kitchen.
“Corobrik wholeheartedly supports such fantastic community projects such as the feeding kitchen at Matroosberweg,” said Corobrik Western Cape Manager, Christie van Niekerk. “Ensuring the children have a dedicated space to provide sustenance that will see them truly benefitting from their time at school is an absolute priority and we will continue to support such worthwhile initiatives.”
Van Niekerk said Corobrik’s clay face brick was the ideal selection for a project, such as this, because of its inherent cost-saving and safety qualities.
“The brick is extremely durable, withstanding harsh climatic elements without the need for future repairs,” he explained. “It also doesn’t give off any harmful VOC’s, which is extremely important for a project such as this, and the brick is very fire-resistant.”
The kitchen includes a storeroom and opens onto a covered stage area with children able to receive the food directly from a hatch, meaning they won’t be near any dangerous equipment. The outdoor area will also serve as an external classroom in summer with plans for a school hall to eventually be built adjacent to the kitchen.
“The face brick, donated by Corobrik, can be used both as a face brick and a plaster brick,” explained Isabelle Le Gras of CS Studio Architects. “This was perfect as we wanted face brick for the outer skin as it is aesthetically pleasing, but it also keeps maintenance costs down as there is no need to re-paint the building every five years. Inside, we wanted to plaster the kitchen for hygienic reasons, as it’s easy to clean.”
Alongside Corobrik, a number of stakeholders donated materials and funds to the project with CS Studio Architects also involving 20 local community members for the construction of the building.
“We worked with the children on the design of a mosaic mural between the kitchen and the stage area,” explained Le Gras. “Professional mosaic artist, Mbuyiseli Somdaka, undertook the mural and workshops were arranged with some of the school pupils with learning disabilities to involve them in the mosaic work and create a vibrant area for them to enjoy.”