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Local architects design South African community center - Half Moon Bay Review : News

6/15/11 12:18 PM

Local architects design South African community center By Lily Bixler [ lily@hmbreview.com ] | Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 12:00 am Miramar resident and architect Stan Field grew up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, so returning to the country with son Jess to build a community center for people from the Zwide Township was incredibly meaningful. The Ubuntu Centre opened last month. Design of the $6 million center started three years ago, but the idea for the grassroots non-governmental organization really started about 10 years ago, when organizers realized they could make a difference in people’s lives. Field explained the goal of the building is to uplift underprivileged people in a region stricken with problems like poverty and HIV/AIDS, which are left over from the previous era of apartheid. The center comprises a multipurpose hall, a wing for career guidance, a computer center, a pediatric HIV/TB testing and counseling clinic, a cafeteria, kitchen and a rooftop vegetable garden. In material outlining the process of designing the center, Archbishop Desmond Tutu described the Ubuntu Education Fund as a project that reaches the people who count, conveying to them: “You are not helpless, you are not ciphers that can be manipulated. You are people who can prepare your own thoughts.” Field said his ultimate goal for this building was to create a true community center, something apparent in his hometown. “I am very conscious about community. And, in a way, the Coastside is a community, so there is some kind of similarity,” Field said. Organizers from the Ubuntu Foundation reached out to the Fields, asking them to pay a visit to witness the situation. “Once I got down there, I realized what an amazing opportunity it was for the architecture itself to resonate with the people and express the whole philosophy of ‘Ubuntu,’” Field said. Ubuntu translates to “I am because you are,” which Field explains means humaneness and support. His intention was for the building to reflect these values.

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Stan Field-Architecture of Ubuntu Centre  

Stan Field speaks about designing the Ubuntu Centre