Since its inception in 2015, the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking (d-school) has been temporarily located at the UCT Graduate School of Business V&A Waterfront campus. Now, a new building for Africa’s first school dedicated to design thinking is officially under construction on UCT’s middle campus near Rondebosch, with the project team having broken ground in October 2020. The Hasso Plattner Foundation of Germany is funding the new building, which will play a strategic role as part of UCT’s Vision 2030. Only two other institutions worldwide – Stanford University in the United States and the University of Potsdam in Germany – have similar d-schools located on their campuses.
The structural engineer, Welby Solomon Civil Engineers (WSCE), and the specialist design and build roof contractor, LEAF Structures, were informed by the design brief: “when entering the d-school one must get a feeling that this is a different learning environment”, “at the entrance you must feel the energy”, “spaces may be repurposed as the d-school evolves”, “there must be good natural lighting”, and “a visitor to the d-school must be able to find the building and entrance easily”