Exploring the impact of the intellectually challenged demands through architecture:towards a training and living facility within the iLembe District.
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In South Africa, those who are intellectually cognitive challenged are still a highly stigmatised group of people. However, the country has one of the highest numbers in Africa of people who have intellectual cognitive challenges. A 2003 census found that there were 2,255,982 people living with some sort of disability in South Africa. Rural areas have the highest percentage, with about 3,7 % of the population suffering with some type of intellectual cognitive challenges. This number increases yearly and the lack of appropriate facilities to accommodate this community has been a constant struggle. Thus, appropriate architectural interventions are required. “In addition to resolving rational problems and fulfilling functional, technical and other demands, profound architecture is always expected to evoke human, experiential and existential values that cannot be prescribed” (Pallasmaa, 2009: 109). This architecture can be achieved by employing various design elements, such as composition of form, orientation and multi-sensory design. The latter can be implemented in the built environment to create architecture with powerful outcomes that enrich the lives of those with intellectual cognitive challenges. Moreover, in recent years, multisensory interventions have been utilised to help facilitate the learning process for the intellectually cognitive challenged. According to the scholar Briony Turner (2016)“Multi-sensory design offers a framing for the conscious consideration and testing of how the built environment can provide a healthy and beneficial human experience. The design and placement of objects, urban form, the opportunities afforded for social interaction and the environmental characteristics of a place all interact at a moment in time to create a multi-sensory experience. The legacy of these sensory stimuli is manifest in the perceptions, emotions and experiences we individually and collectively feel, respond to and remember.” Various theories, employed to critically analyse the precedent and the case studies, are explored in the literature review. Culture theory is investigated, in order to understand KwaDukuza’s society and assist in creating a connection between people with intellectual cognitive challenges and the existing community. In addition, phenomenology is utilised as a theoretical philosophy to link architecture with architectural interventions .Wayfinding is employed as a means to help those with intellectual cognitive challenges to navigate through the proposed building with comfort and ease.This dissertation seeks to provide valuable information and appropriate architectural interventions that will assist in designing a facility to educate, train and accommodate adults with intellectual cognitive challenges. This facility will be located adjacent to an existing educational facility in KwaDukuza for children who have intellectual cognitive challenges.