The architecture of science centres : recommendations for Durban, South Africa.
Under apartheid in South Africa a large portion of our society was been denied access to science education. This has led to a generally low public understanding of science and a poor scientific skills level, which has a negative impact on our country's economic growth. In a world that is increasingly hi-tech and relies on technology for day-to-day living, this lack in science knowledge and technology is alarming (The Presidency, 2006:9). A poor knowledge of science hampers people's ability to actively participate in a democratic society and produces a future generation that is scientifically illiterate. A large part of our population needs to be more scientifically literate but this situation cannot be rectified by purely improving school science education. For this reason the Department of Science and Technology has proposed a network of science centres across South Africa. This network consists of flagship science centres in all the major cities, which support smaller science centres in outlying areas. The aim is to increase people's access to science and technology in a non-threatening environment that appeals to all ages. The purpose of this research is to look at the method proposed by the Department of Science and Technology to improve the current situation - a network of science centres. The research investigates the philosophies and aims of science centres and the architectural responses necessary to accommodate these. This study focuses on the architectural response of a science centre for Durban. The aim of the study is to generate architectural recommendations to guide and inform the design of a science centre for Durban.