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CYC

The Channel Youth Centre is envisaged as a Soweto-based educational, vocational training and social facility aimed at improving youth employment and entrepreneurial prospects, while providing a space for young people to hang out, listen to music, DJ, play sport and socialise.

Established by youths in Meadowlands, the Channel Youth Club (CYC) originally operated from a container in the backyard of a church, from where they visited schools, setting up debating clubs and running self-awareness workshops. The Youth Learning Centre design was born out of their ambition to formalise their operation and fill a gap left by inadequate apartheid schooling. Situated on a plot once occupied by a council substation burnt to the ground during the Soweto student uprising in 1976, the site’s northern edge is occupied by a taxi stop and a small informal market, which have both been integrated into the project. In this way safety in a community marked by poverty and crime can be insured through public surveillance. The design centres around a safe inner courtyard that creates a variety of social spaces while providing a range of facilities, like class rooms, a library, offices and a crèche. The courtyard plan is deformed to create various hierarchies of spaces and entrances. Cut into the slope of the site and at the centre of the courtyard is a ‘youth cave’ catering for leisure activities outside of the curriculum.

Project team: Thorsten Deckler, Anne Graupner, Gavin Armstrong

Featured in Daimler Chrysler publication and traveling exhibition 2007
Winner of a South African Institute for Architecture Project Award 2006
Featured in Architecture South Africa March/ April 2006