Empowering Futures: MATTER Career Readiness Institute, Victoria Falls

Empowering Futures: MATTER Career Readiness Institute, Victoria Falls
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Architectural Excellence for Community Empowerment

Joel Daniel Pringle Architectural & Planning Studio introduces the MATTER Career Readiness Institute (MCRI), a transformative structure in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Dedicated to a training program resulting from the collaboration between Jamf, a leading technology company, and MATTER, a committed NGO, the institute is designed to mark a significant milestone in students’ career journeys. Functioning as the main building, MCRI aims to propel students into the realm of job creation through a year-long professional development training course, offering qualifications for internships with Jamf and other prominent US IT companies, with the ultimate goal of securing remote employment.

Inspiring Community Excellence

The architectural design of MCRI transcends mere functionality, aspiring to inspire excellence within the community. Serving as a space for students, the building reflects care and quality, instilling a sense of identity and belonging. The collaborative partnership’s genuine commitment to the project, especially in an unfamiliar field of expertise in the region, is crucial. The design prioritizes social spaces, connectivity, responsiveness to the local climate, and a commitment to fostering a community-driven sense of identity.

Design Philosophy and Orientation

Taking inspiration from a grove of trees that provides a communal gathering space, the building layout forms a connected series of organic, sheltered spaces. Balancing informality and individuality with functional rigidity, the design accommodates various formal and informal social interactions. The diverse shelter structures in scale, height, and shape foster a sense of community engagement and individual interpretation beyond the basic functional requirements of the rooms.

Sustainability at the Core

Given the region’s challenges with electricity supply and harsh climatic conditions, MCRI is designed to operate off the grid. Solar panels ensure sustainable energy consumption, while natural ventilation and daylight play integral roles in reducing electric loads. The open-air courtyard, circulation spaces, and large roof overhangs contribute to efficient natural ventilation. Not only does this approach enhance sustainability, but it also creates a comfortable environment conducive to learning.

Material Showcase and Local Empowerment

The design celebrates the use of local Hwange face brick, drawing inspiration from the surrounding Zambezi National Park’s natural beauty. Employing a parametrically driven organic texture of rotated bricks across the facades, the design achieves a seamless connection between nature and technology. Glass brick courses at higher levels enhance natural lighting and contribute to the visual aesthetics. The emphasis on local, labor-intensive materials, particularly raw face brick, not only supports the community economically but also ensures long-term sustainability and low maintenance costs.

Joel Daniel Pringle Architectural & Planning Studio’s MATTER Career Readiness Institute stands as more than a physical structure; it represents a commitment to community development, education, and sustainable practices. By merging architectural innovation with social responsibility, the institute becomes a symbol of empowerment and a beacon of hope for the students and the community it serves.

Written By
Amelia Johnson

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