Canaan College, Umlazi

In 2017 we were appointed as Architect and Principal Consultant for this ground-breaking project – to convert an existing bank head office in Umlazi into an affordable, combined private school. By affordable, we mean that the fees are in the government school ‘model c’ range and by combined, that it includes male and female learners, from Grade R to Grade 12. This was an extremely challenging project, but the existing building does have good attributes that we maximized in the design, such as :-

  • 3 courtyard spaces which allow natural light to penetrate and provide open space between the wings.
  • Generous windows to maximize natural light and ventilation
  • Overhangs that cut out the harsh sun angles
  • A north orientation to most of the wings

Our design approach was to create identity to and separation of the 3 main phases of the school – junior, intermediate and senior with their own entrances and circulation routes. Additional entry points are provided for visitors and staff. The ground level was maximized for the younger learners with access to play areas and experiential outdoor space. The senior learners are on the upper level with some specialist classrooms including robotics and science labs. The intermediate phase – the largest phase of the school are centrally housed and have multiple access points to their own social spaces and the large field.

The entire site was master-planned for the first (opening) phase and future phases as facilities are added.

The first phase of the school opened in January 2019