Mpilonhle (the good life) was established in the uMkhanyakude District of northern KwaZulu-Natal in 2005 to provide socio-medical support to schools in the district.
Having designed their mobile units a decade ago we were approached by them again in 2014 to design their new offices on a recently purchased fruit farm overlooking the uMfolozi River.
Our main task was to design an open plan office space to accommodate 22 work stations as well as to provide indoor and outdoor meeting spaces and support areas including stores, kitchenette, server room and ablutions. As far as possible all were to be accommodated in an existing rambling farm house and the disparate arrangement of outbuildings.
The original two-bay garage was extended to accommodate the main open plan office space; a dog kennel was transformed into the boardroom; the water tower was turned into the storeroom; an outdoor seating area was constructed with used car tyres. The only additional building footprint is the new ablution block strategically located to link up all of the spaces.
This was a low budget project, which needed to have an informal yet modern feel. Many of the materials were re-used and recycled, including existing roof and wall structures and the office furniture originally designed by ECA 10 years ago.