Portia Primary School is a replacement school built as part of the Department of Basic Education’s Accelerated School Infrastructure Development Initiative (ASIDI) Programme. The original temporary school buildings were built over 40 years ago to accommodate learners affected by apartheids’ forced removals. The new school building attempts to give back some dignity to the community it is situated in. The building is arranged around a hierarchy of sheltered courtyards. The large shared courtyard allows for outdoor play and assembly of all children, while the smaller covered courtyards between the classrooms provide protection from the external elements and act as a social gathering space for children of various age groups.
The upper floors of the classroom blocks have been shifted over the lower floors to provide generous overhangs over the north facing windows while cutting out direct sunlight into the classrooms. The eastern and western facades are articulated with perforated vertical screens and deep recesses in response to climatic considerations.