NMMU Engineering Building in Port Elizabeth


The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University/NMMU’s new Engineering Building is the first major building to be erected since the merger of the 2 institutions – the former University of Port Elizabeth and the former Port Elizabeth Technicon. The client’s desire was for the design team to produce a building that created a new face for the university - a face that communicated its position as a dynamic and leading academic institution on the African continent.

The building is orientated along an east-west axis to ensure compliance with “Green Design Principles”. Natural light floods the interior through the use of skylights along the main concourse. This natural light along with the vibrant yet subtle colour scheme combine to create a pleasant learning environment.

Imbono FJA Architects CC sought to sensitively integrate the existing forms and materials from the two campuses - the concrete cubist forms of the university and the facebrick and bullnose features of the Technicon. The defining feature element of the building is the dynamic organic façade which faces onto University Way-symbolic of a new dynamic university.

In addition to the aesthetic contribution, this façade cladded with about 800m² of RHEINZINK tiles in prePATINA blue-grey acts as a thermal buffer to the 200 seat auditorium located behind it on the west façade. RHEINZINK square tiles were installed on the eye catching curved façade by the South African-German zinc contractor, Spenglerei Muehle CC.

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