The City of Cape Town is the first government to use alternative and unconventional building methods for public buildings, the Delft ECD is the first eco-building of it’s kind.


On the outskirts of the Cape Flats lies the township of Delft. The city of Cape Town took up a project to build an eco-building, the building was to be used as an early childhood development centre.

The building was constructed with alternative building materials. The structure was built up with natural bricks and recycled Coke-a-cola bottles, which where used to create ‘Eco-Bricks’ (a plastic bottle filled with un-recyclable plastic). They also used recycled glass bottles and used tyres. The concept was dreamed up by City of Cape Town project architect Ashley Hemraj.

“I realised that if we [the city] didn’t approach new construction from a sustainable point of view, we would continue to get the same results [buildings that consume energy and water, create waste and have large carbon footprints]. So I suggested trying something different – exploring the use of unconventional building materials.”

The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission plans to use this method for more than 60% of all social infrastructure buildings by 2017.

The Delft ECD (Early Child developement centre) was part of the CoCT’s project called “First 1000 days” which was launched in 2016. A study showed that a child’s development is more crucial in the first 1000 days than any other point in their lives. Focusing on this 1000 days helps with development in becoming a successful, thriving adult that is able to contribute positively to society

“If you want to deal with crime, alcoholism, drugs and unemployment, focus on nurturing the child in those critical 1000 days, forget what happens at a primary, secondary and tertiary level of education, what is needed is a proper developmental foundation.”

The building was designed to offer a good early foundation for the children of Delft. The area was chosen because of its rapid growth and need for a centre like this.

A grassed play area occupies about a third of the site, while the southern corner comprises a large food garden that will provide nutritious meals for the children. Rainwater tanks will provide irrigation for the garden. The perimeter of the site is safely secured with a combination of rammed earth tyre construction boundary walls and see-through palisade fencing.

“This kind of project [natural/recycled building] is the future for government buildings because children grow up understanding that waste can be useful,” – Oliver Wentley


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Sources: Earth Works

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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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