Social Architecture applies the theories of affordable building to impoverished areas inhabited by the poorest of the poor, whose facilities are inadequate and/or non-existent.

The design and building concepts of an international partner university are implemented for the creation of the physical structures, and students from the university come to construct the building, thus encouraging social tourism and the transfer of skills from the university students to unemployed and often uneducated, locals.

To see the processes of an actual live project please visit the Nottingham University School of Built Environment website that was created by the students for their project designed and built in Jouberton, North West Province, South Africa


These socially effective design build projects are incorporated into the academic programme of the partner university where their students design the structure, and a number of students are then selected to physically come and build the facilities over a 6 – 7 week period. We encourage the construction of pre-schools and pre-school training centres which we link to our Education Africa ECD (Early Childhood Development) project. The international students are also involved in raising funds for the project.

The centres are designed and constructed by the students using simple inexpensive local building materials, while applying innovative solutions to architectural problems. Often, the students include unemployed local residents in the building of the facilities in order to encourage skills transfer.

Education Africa identifies projects, local partners; obtain permission from relevant departments and stakeholders, and sources accommodation and food for students, where possible at reduced rates or through donations. Education Africa, through our ECD project, also helps to ensure that partners and structures are in place so that the centres will be run and maintained effectively, once built.

A decision was recently taken by Education Africa that all future projects will be restricted to the design and construction of Pre-School facilities only. There is an enormous need for such facilities in South Africa, and in collaboration with the Education Africa Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme; we will then undertake the necessary training of caregivers and ECD facilitators, where necessary.


  • 2004: Technical University of Vienna designed and constructed a workplace, storage area for tools and materials, cooking and sanitary facilities, an office and a centre for social interaction for Modimo O Moholo home for disabled adults in the Orange Farm community. Orange Farm in an impoverished informal settlement south of Johannesburg, and suitable areas for social interaction and work areas were needed so that the centre could become a fully operational workplace.
  • 2005: Technical University of Vienna designed and built a Facility for Security Personnel at Masibambane College. This multi-purpose room, incorporating basic sanitary and cooking facilities is also used as the living quarters for the school security personnel.
  • 2005: Technical University of Vienna constructed living units and additional :workshops at Modimo O Moholo, which was a project completed in two phases, as shown above.
  • 2005: University of Art, Linz built a kitchen, laundry and dining areas and therapy rooms for Tebogo Home for mentally and physically handicapped children. The home had been partially destroyed by fire in 2004; thus it desperately needed reparation and upgrading to cater for the children’s needs.
  • 2006: Graz University of Technology built Thembelihle Pre-School in Wielers Farm, an extraordinarily poor township in need of pre-school facilities. An entirely new facility was built with adequate play and sleep areas to replace the pre-fabricated shack which had previously been accommodating 60 children. The new facility accommodates many more children.
  • 2006: Technical University of Vienna built Emmanuel Day Care Centre pre-school in Orange Farm. The entirely new facility replaced a pre-fabricated shack to accommodate many more children, with adequate play and sleep areas.
  • 2006: University of Salzburg built the Magagula Skills Centre for unemployed adults and for the disabled at Montic Primary School on Montic Dairy Farm near Heidelberg. The centre provides for the impoverished and largely unemployed community living on and near the farm. A complex of buildings was built which provide a location for unemployed adults and young people to gain woodwork, metalwork, sewing and brick-making skills.
  • 2008: University of Salzburg completed the Lesedi Nhlahle Training Crèche in Haenertsburg. This facility comprises a nursery for babies as well as a pre-school room, a kitchen and eating area, sanitary facilities as well as an apartment for the trainer. This facility is part of Thusanang Training Centre for pre-school teachers.
  • University of Aachen, Germany built Sharp Sharp Pre-School at Montic Primary School, where two cramped, hot classrooms had previously accommodated 60 pre-school children. An entirely new facility was built, which accommodates more children with a play area, silent sleep room, sanitary facilities and an outdoor/play area. A vegetable garden was also planted
  • University of Art, Linz built Teddy Bear Pre-School in Orange Farm to accommodate 150 toddlers, many of whom are orphans and who were previously cared for in a pre-school run from a shack. A day care facility with sleep rooms, covered patio and outdoor play area, offices and kitchen were built.
  • University of Innsbruck built a Grade R facility at Olifantsvlei Primary School, ensuring that the pre-schoolers would have a separate facility with suitable play and rest areas. Education Africa partnered with Adopt-a-School Foundation on this project for the first time.
  • 2009: Nottingham University completed the Junior Early Learning Centre in Jouberton near Klerksdorp. This facility replaces a tin shack which was previously used to care for 60 children.

[“source -pcworld”]