The South East Football for Hope Centre in Ramotswa is one of 20 centres being built across Africa and funded by Fifa as part of the 2010 Worldcup legacy. The centre was designed and project managed by Elisa Engel for Architecture for Humanity. It was built for a local organisation, SEDYEA, that uses football to support young people in the fight against HIV/Aids.

During the design and construction phase, Elisa lived in Ramotswa and worked closely with the future users of the centre; the design is very much a result of this collaboration. Because SEDYEA’s potential for delivering programs greatly exceeded the available limited budget, maximising usable floor area was imperative. Our brief from SEDYEA was to deliver a building that was ‘simple but smart’. 

Botswana’s south-eastern region has an extreme climate: summers are hot with short, heavy bursts of rain, winters are warm during the day but cold at night. The design aims to show how buildings can be well adapted to the local climate by making a few key design decisions, but using local building practices and materials. Teaching spaces are orientated to face north-south, shade screens and roof overhangs minimise heat gain in the summer and maximise it in the winter, rooms have generous floor to ceiling heights and good cross ventilation. Locally made clay bricks are used alongside stones sourced from the site itself. Woven reed mats are used as a ceiling finish, the ceiling void is insulated using recycled paper. The usable floor area is increased by creating a covered and shaded outdoor seminar space that doubles as a stage and spectator seating during match days. Many design aspects are directly translated from Tswana building traditions: for example, low stone walls designate outdoor living spaces and provide informal seating. 

The building won a number of awards:

Autodesk Award for Sustainable Building 2012:


Architecture for Humanity Annual Awards:

Exterior Detail: Winner
Project of the Year: Finalist

Video of the construction of the South East Football for Hope Centre and the amazing dancing skills of the South East Youth Empowerment Associationg  - Ramotswa at Work and at Play