South African School Gets Makeover with Recycled Materials

The Natural Building Collective has shown what it really means to be innovative after revamping the Ulwazi Educare in Delft, Cape Town to accommodate 120 kids using tires, ecobricks, cob, reclaimed materials from the film industry, glass bottles and reclaimed doors and windows where possible.

The Natural Building Collective uses buildings to connect, create, empower and educate. They share their knowledge and experience, through their blog and natural building courses, on how to build sustainably with earth and other natural materials.

So far, they have utilized 1800 tires, which were laid in rows and rammed with earth until they are solid or ‘pumped up’. Each row requires the tires to be of the same depth when laid flat. Having a huge depot to select tires from made this approach possible. The fill material for the tires is from recycled building waste, mixed with earth from a site excavation to make an easy-to-compact material.

Once the walls were up they looked at cob mixes to use for packing out of the tire walls as well as the glass bottle and ecobricks walls. The clay was mixed with sand and straw to make cob and the packing out of the walls are well underway. Ecobricks fit into the gaps between tires. The outside walls will get a final cement plaster for ease of maintenance and the inside walls will get a lime plaster.

They had some volunteers onsite and visits from interested people from all over on a regular basis. Participants from a past course started the cobbing.They hope to have a lot of help from volunteers once the roof is on. Currently, they are busy with the ring-beam and then its time for the roof.

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