Recycling Hub and Community Center in Gqebera Township

«I never thought that one man’s trash could be another man’s treasure.»

Khululekile «Khusta» Moko, waste picker in Gqebera Township

This conceptional thesis design addresses one of the major problems in South Africa: waste management and recycling. At the same time collecting, sorting, and selling recyclable waste is a significant and often the only income for many people in townships and low-income parts of cities. Based on these benchmarks the proposed design connects the importance of a hygienic and healthy waste and recycling management in Gqebera Township with the overall need for employment options in a community-managed centre.

Due to the size of the designated site, it is possible to extend the recycling hub into a communal meeting point with a community garden, public areas for social gatherings, kitchen and education facilities. All buildings are made of recycled or reused material. The recycling hub consists of four buildings to sort, clean, and store the recyclable material. Each front depicts the material inside by using it as a façade. Part of the recycling hub is also the «picker pavilion» where waste pickers trade their collected material for money or points. An on-site workshop offers possibilities to repair the picker’s pushcarts, training options, and education.

The conceptional design proposal offers a possibility for a sustainable implementation by relying on the surrounding community for future management and addressing actual problems in Gqebera township while creating employment options and education side by side.

Location of the project on map
Structure of the recycling hut for glass
Perspective (rendering) of the recycling project in Gqebera
Black and white sketches from different perspectives
Floor plan of the whole area