The Outreach Foundation Community Centre is one of the first new social infrastructure projects to be built in Hillbrow since the 1970s. The project is situated within the broader Hillbrow Lutheran Church/Friedenskirche precinct, a site given to the Lutheran church by Paul Kruger at the turn of the century. The actual building site is the staggered rooftop of an unfinished community hall, built as part of the German Consulate in the 1970s.
The building houses 3 primary functions: a computer centre on the ground floor, a dance studio on the first floor, and offices and meeting areas at second floor. These functions are collected within an angular volume draped over the two levels of the site. The building also presents its primary function, which is the dance studio, to Twist Street through a 12 metre window.
The building is in and of itself a small piece of urban design, and houses a vertical street (in the form of an open staircase), which leads users from a central courtyard up to the public roof garden. This roof garden, which was partially funded by housing companies in the area, complements the building and forms a platform from which users of the centre can interact with the city below.
The form of the building is actually very simple and entirely governed by the programmes housed in it. However, the choice of white corrugated steel and clear corrugated polycarbonate as cladding materials abstract the building’s image and clearly establish it as a new addition to this part of the city.
A satellite intervention also included the construction of a steel bench, which peels off the wall on the opposite side of the street, allowing pedestrians a view of the dancers while resting on their commute.