centre for experiential learning

A moth-balled 1990’s Office and Research Facility owned by De Beers is adapted to create an experiential training facility for Anglo American.

The existing building was a strange collection of two-storey yellow brick office spaces and big warehouse/factory spaces. The facility was extremely difficult to navigate and dreary. Our primary interventions were to create a new centrally located entrance and atrium and clear links between the parts thereby making the facility legible. A language of translucent sheeting, steel structure and planting was used to ensure clarity of these routes.

One of the two storey office wings was converted into a 40 bed accommodation facility, another office space into training rooms and yet others into new offices. The existing warehouse and factory structures were transformed into spaces that would support various alternative training and learning techniques - a mock-up factory, a truck maintenance area and a state-of-the-art 3D simulation space. This training engages the trainees physically in a process of learning, hence ‘experiential learning’.

The building also enables learning to occur informally, facilitating chance meetings and interactions between people. A visual language was created through the architecture and the interiors that can be expanded into the moth-balled areas as the facility develops. This language retains the industrial character but shifts the more corporate feel of Anglo American’s head office to a more interactive aesthetic. The landscaping was also designed to be part of the dialogue – informal, indigenous and inviting.

The facility has been very successful and has already been booked out until December by Anglo American’s business units and teams from the various mines. .