Laboratory and Classroom Ithuba
RWTH AAchen University 
Laboratory and Classroom Ithuba

Laboratory and Classroom Ithuba

RWTH AAchen University 

Containing a laboratory and classrooms of Ithuba Skills College in Gauteng, in South Africa, this building was designed and executed by volunteers from Aachen University in the course of a semester that lasted two semesters.

The volume is inspired in traditional construction, making the most of readily available resources, and presents two areas corresponding to different parts of the program. These areas are connected by a diagonal corridor, and over them is a light roof with large eaves that serve to protect the interior against solar radiation. The roof’s geometry follows the layout of the irregular floor plan beneath, which is twisted 45º with respect to the building’s perimeter.

Although the walls of the building have a rather hermetic appearance, it is sustained by a light structure of steel supports that are adapted to the contour of the floor plan and are crowned with a beam band, also made of steel. These supports hold up the lattice of the roof, composed of a scheme of steel tubes 1.20 meter long, assembled in the factory and set up on the site. The lattice presents two different layers: an upper one executed with undulating steel sheets, and a lower one that corresponds to the false ceiling made of plywood and adequately equipped with a thermal insulation system.

The uniqueness of this educational building lies primarily in the fact that the structure of metal supports is embedded in the walls, which were raised with mud extracted in the vicinity, following the traditional technique of the adobe wall.

Obra Work

Laboratorios y aulario Laboratory and Classroom for the Ithuba Community College, Magagula Heights, Gauteng (South Africa).

Diseño Design

Bernadette Heiermann, Nora Müller, Judith Reitz / Insitute for Building Typologies and Design Basic - RTWH Aachen University (Anne-Julchen Bernhardt).

Estructura Structure

Christoph Koj, Martin Trautz / RTWH Aachen University.

Estudiantes Students

A. Blumenstein, W. Brum, A. Dirks, B. Domels, J. Ganserich, F. Graus, D. Hoppe, N. Kerschke, J. N. Koch, K. Kroth, P. Linden, A. Maldener, M Potpara, M. Schlechtingen, C. Schütz, S. A. Schulten, P. Speicher, A. Steckeweh, J. Strelzig, N. Strelzig, T. Strieder,. S. M. Szesny, M. Van Laack, I. Vins, L. Weil.

Consultores Consultants

M Speidel, T Tokura, M. Krauss, Transsolar, F. Pöhler, E. Rubin, M. Wagner, Ingen. ohne Grenzen.

Fotos Photos

Leon Krige, Nora Elisabeth Müller, RWTH Aachen University.