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Physical Planning lives in recaptured space
2014-06-18

When the Department of Physical Planning decided on a new office premises, the team decided to tackle the project with an overarching theme – recycling.

It is important for Physical Planning to not only dictate to other departments on campus, but to set the example themselves,” says Nico Janse van Rensburg, Director: Physical Planning at the UFS. 

Recaptured space

New office space on campus is simply not available. It was therefore decided to recover space and a store room was identified. “Fortunately, the storage area had ceilings. However, it was dilapidated and was sagging all over. To divert attention from the ceiling, we painted it in a dark colour and the walls white.

“All wiring was also done superficially. It draws the attention away from the uneven surfaces and simplifies work on the wiring. Instead of trying to hide it, we made a focal point of it,” says Janse van Rensburg.

Recycled building materials

Lots of the building material that was used to convert the storage space into offices, was recovered from other building projects on campus. Material that would normally be discarded was utilised creatively to not only serve a practical purpose, but also an aesthetic one.

A laboratory basin was used as wash basin. Remaining parts of granite slabs from other sites were utilised as top for the basin. Existing toilets were also reused. To enhance the atmosphere, new taps in an affordable, but durable range were installed.

Recycled furniture

We rambled through every possible store room to find furniture. Tables were simply sanded and varnished and look better than new. Even the cabinet at the entrance was saved from wind and weather and reused.

Hot and smart

Only one screen wall was built. It was left in raw brick, unplastered and unpainted to contribute to contrasting textures. Existing walls were left painted or unpainted as it was before.

“The environment that was created breaks down several existing perceptions. Such as the perception that everything has to match; everything has to be plastered and painted and many others. This is an example of how different materials can be combined to create a lively environment.

“Staff members have already moved into their new offices and are very satisfied,” says Janse van Rensburg. 

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