In townships, and other areas where poverty persists, young talented people are often attracted to a lifestyle of gang culture and criminal activity. However, for many of them music has become a driving force to overcome their struggles; but they lack the appropriate resources to assist them in furthering their careers.
The Bridges Academy, located in Langa Township, aims to become a creative hub where young budding musicians are given the resources to pursue their dreams and hone their skills. The project is initiated by Bridges For Music, a non-profit organization that gathers key players of the music industry to support social development in disadvantaged communities, with the aim to raise global awareness about local issues through music.
The project includes upgrading and refurbishing a dilapidated building on the site, and adding a new extension as the public foyer. The new extension, inspired by the dynamic shapes of musical instruments, is designed as a trapezoid shape to reduce noise reverberations inside the space. It also has a strong sculptural presence that can be seen from the street.
The school includes facilities with the latest equipment to provide lessons on all aspects of music production and video editing. There is also a large outdoor area to host music events and performances for both the school and the community. The music academy in Langa is intended as a prototype that can be adapted to replicate its teaching pedagogy and spatial programme on other sites throughout Africa. As a proof of concept, since its inception, the school has successfully hosted several workshops with local and international artists such as Black Coffee, Skrillex and Ed Sheeran.
The project is sponsored by Nandos. The interior and furnishings are designed by South African designer Tracy Lynch who’s design intention was to create a world-class Southern African inspired interior for a space of learning situated in Langa township, to identify and include local artists, creatives, designers and makers as key collaborators.
“The spaces should inspire the students that are enrolled at the centre, we have created a design which was centered around creating opportunities for creative collaboration with local creatives, they have added a layer of meaning to the interior design. This inspiring electronic music development space aims to foster co - creators who will become future creative leaders in SA.
In addition key established SA designers and initiatives such as The Spier arts where invited to play a role. The trust collaborated on the beaded arrivals counter panel which features inlays of beads forming a pattern born from a music workshop designed by Studio Leelynch to extract hand drawn patterns inspired by live music from the creatives from Langa that participated in the day long event.
Bridges for Music has been designed for the youth of the community, for those that share a love and passion for music. The design work is a way to deepen this passion. We want the venue to be so supportive and inspiring that learners want to be there rather than anywhere else. We also want to inspire the participants with new concepts of hero, taking back cool from undesirable influences and making it live in the personalities of successful local musicians and music stars. Making the street vibe a positive force.
Some of the design elements utilized to bring the architecture to life include accentuating the length of the long room by including a lighting installation woven by the society for the Blind, in addition we are inspired by the rich culture of pattern in South Africa. The new painted image which arose from the music workshop is inspired by sound and expressed in paint. The pattern wraps around the space holding and supporting the seating area and amplifying the ability music has to transform, transport and connect people