New Barkly House architect recognised

Barkly House Pre-Primary School staff from left, are Ingrid Glasser, Kirsty Metcalf, Yvette Barnes, principal Jeni Reid, Charlene Young, Kate Bell and Nikita Smith.

In celebration of Women’s Month, award-winning architect Rahdia Parker took two MECs on a tour of the new R10.2 million Barkly House Pre-Primary School in Newlands.

The project saw the former Newlands Clinic converted into a pre-primary school for children previously house in an old prefab building in Claremont.

The project started in April 2016 and was completed in October last year.

It includes alterations and additions to the old clinic.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer and Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant visited the school, on Wednesday August 15, with Ms Parker.

School principal Jeni Reid has been with the school for 28 years, first as a student, then as a teacher and has been the principal for the past 18 years.

She said the department had offered them the land in Newlands several years ago, but it had taken some time for all the “red tape” to be cleared.

Ms Reid said she had worked with Ms Parker on the design of the school.

“I was able to give some input in terms of what would work best for the children, while Ms Parker had the architectural experience,” she said.

Ms Parker co-founded her Cape Town based company, Archi, with Riefqah Abrahams in 2011 and the two architects have won several awards over the years.

Ms Parker said she liked challenging the norm and innovating to create positive social change.

She has been involved in the Claremont precinct feasibility study and project implementation plan, numerous educational projects and is also involved in the city plan for displaced persons in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Ms Parker received the 2018 African Construction, Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the built environment industry over the past 15 years.

She also received the 2016 Women in Construction Award for excellence in career development. In 2015 she was invited to participate at the UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Ms Abrahams, who specialises in public architecture, has been involved in post-disaster risk reduction projects, migration/displacement crisis solutions, state of the art exhibition buildings and brand interpretation architecture.

She was also the local project architect on a state of the art R100 million exhibition building for Nike in Soweto, the first of its kind in Africa. The building was completed in a record five months.

Ms Abrahams has received the 2017 Pioneer of Innovation award, which celebrates influential women within the built environment in Africa.

In 2018, amongst industry leaders, she was commissioned to be on the judging panel for the African Construction Awards.

She has also received the 2016 WICA award for excellence in career development.

Barkly House was originally known as the Lady Buxton Nursery School and Training Centre. It was opened opened on 18 March 1939, with six student teachers and 12 children.

They moved into the old house, orginally known as Lindly Estate in Molteno Road in March 1945.

During 2010, the WCED renovated the old Barkly House College building with Claremont High School opening on the premises in 2011.

The WCED asked the pre-primary school to relocate as the need for additional space grew at Claremont High School.

Today, the school has 125 children.