St Cyprian’s School
Studio: Noero Architects
Project: St Cyprian’s School
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Category: Educational Buildings
Credit: Uno Pereira; David Southwood; Jess Kramer
St Cyprian’s is a well established Anglican School in Cape Town. Both the setting of the school and the original buildings which were designed by the office of Herbert Baker, Kendall and Morris are very special. The development of the school over the last 100 years has occurred in a piece-meal fashion which has created a rich mosaic of different building styles and histories. Importantly, during this period, the school resisted the temptation to re-organize the spaces in a rational utilitarian modern manner. This has given rise to a set of spaces similar to those found in a city where chance encounters can and do occur. The paths of pupils crisscross everyday on their way to and from classrooms making a non-hierarchic network of spaces and movement routes which allow the youngest and oldest girls’ paths to cross and crisscross again and again.
A campaign to re-imagine the school was initiated in the early 2000’s – this has culminated in the construction of a number of new buildings and spaces within the school grounds. Importantly the school’s brief to the architects was that, whilst they respected and loved the older buildings, they did not want to create a pastiche imitation of the old buildings but rather to establish a new language of buildings which would mark a break from the past but which would nonetheless respect that past.