2009 – 2010

IPHIKO classrooms
Further development of construction techniques
South Africa

Designed, Built

Photo: Corinna König

IPHIKO means “wing”. It is the first construction phase of the ITHUBA Primary School and consists of two primary school classes, a kitchen, a workshop, toilets and a sheltered garden courtyard for the youngest of the schoolchildren. Large roofed outdoor areas offer shelter against the heavy rainfall and intensive sunshine in this region and can be used for outdoor lessons and during school breaks.
Designed and built by students of the Kunstuniversität Linz, a main concern in this building was to use construction methods appropriate to the climate, i.e. to build spaces whose climate can be regulated without the need for outside energy (heating and cooling). The outside walls consist of a 30-cm-thick straw and earth mix that is rammed and condensed between formwork walls and, after it has dried out, rendered.

On account of negative experiences with regard to quality and origin of wood in South Africa the roof in IPHIKO is carried by slender steel trusses that make economic use of the material. The trusses, which were welded by the students themselves, allow the roofs to project widely so that they protect the straw and earth elements from rainfall and give the complex a light, hovering appearance – like an IPHIKO or wing.

South Africa is one of the main exporters of iron beams and profiles; straw and loam are readily available in the local area. This construction method can be easily transferred to smaller buildings and housing.

Since IPHIKO was finished, buildCOLLECTIVE and additional universities worked on the completion of the primary school together with students and graduate of the Ithuba Skills College and students from HTL Mödling. All the building structures are in line with the basic ideas from the master plan, which again highlights the strength of the original master plan.

Photo: Patricia Porsch

Poto: Corinna König

Almhofer-Amerig Jürgen, Biskamp Janina, Derntl Johannes, Hinterseinter Rafael, Kaps Urs, König Corinna, Peball Katharina, Pilz Gerald, Porsch Patricia, Wolfsteiner Johannes

Roland Gnaiger (overall supersvision), Richard Steger (design supervision), Elias Rubin (construction site, earthworks), Clemens Quirin (BASEhabitat), Oskar Pankratz (building physics)

Students of the department of architecture, University of Art Linz and the local community

SARCH – social sustainable architecture, Christoph Chorherr

Sponsors Land OÖ, DOKA, Durst-Bau, Ulreich, Weissenseer