Sat Oct 22 03:45:50 SAST 2016

South Africa's nightingale on a mission to revamp state buildings

By unknown | Dec 20, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

A South African-born architect, who is now based in the UK, is on a drive to change the look and feel of public sector buildings.

Public hospitals, schools and prisons will soon get a facelift from Nightingale Architecture, the Cape Town branch of Nightingale Associates, which is owned by Mike Nightingale.

Nightingale Associates has been in the specialist architecture business for 18 years, revamping state infrastructure.

The Cape Town office was opened three years ago, working mostly on the design and production of international private public partnership hospitals, schools and colleges of further education.

The Nightingale Associates executive chairman, Richard Harrington, said that South Africa needed to improve public sector infrastructure.

The company incorporates features that appeal to three of the five senses - sight, smell and sound - in development of buildings, which it said was critical, particularly in hospitals

Nightingale Architecture manager, Wallace Manyara, said the opening of the branch was a realisation of Mike Nightingale, the chairman.

Manyara said Nightingale had not wanted to develop replicas of UK government infrastructure, but to customise them for South Africa's reality, as they had done in their Sunyani Community Hospital in Ghana.

Nightingale said the company had engaged government in ensuring that its branch would comply with broad-based black economic empowerment policy.

Manyara said: "We believe that hospitals should not be a place where people dread to be, but must have a familiar homely feel.

The medicine might do its work, but a positive environment has been proven to help people heal.

"Infrastructure development in health care is one of the critical needs in the country, and this is certainly an opportunity for us to showcase what we do best," he said.

The Groote Schuur Hospital's easier identification of the hospital's wards was designed by the company and is being executed by a local architect.

Nightingale is eyeing Somerset Hospital, St Vincent's Children's Home, and Heart of Healing as some of the projects next year.

Manyara said the contribution was just part of the plan to focus of previously disadvantaged black architects.

He said: "Until now we have been lacking the proper empowerment vehicle to give real impetus to our progressive transformation initiatives, and commitment to black economic empowerment.

"As we have done elsewhere in the world, we will redefine the standards of public infrastructure to bring a combination of best practice, design quality, production capacity and good-value architectural service to the construction sectors and various relevant government departments."


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