Michael Rassman

Director and principal architect, Architects of Justice

Michael Rassman believes in creating building designs that are meaningful and have a positive influence on the end user.

When 36-year-old Rassman and his two business partners Alessio Lacovig and Kuba Granicki started their company in 2009, it was not their initial intention to get involved in architecture for the youth, even though it was a sector they felt passionate about.

“I suppose you might say it happened by chance,” says Rassman.

One of the first projects for the company was a library and media centre for a school in Edenglen, Gauteng. This led to the design of a library in Alexandra, and ultimately, their involvement in the SEED Library initiative, designing and implementing prefabricated libraries across South Africa using shipping containers.

“There is such need in South Africa for libraries to uplift the youth, and the SEED project clearly responds to that need,” says Rassman.

The SEED libraries have won numerous awards for design and architectural merit and the concept is well recognised for the role it plays enhancing child literacy.

In support of this, Architects of Justice have designed the Micro SEED library, a smaller, more cost-effective alternative to the SEED library.

Essentially a steel frame building with self-supporting insulated panels, the Micro SEED is prefabricated and flat-packed onto the back of a single truck for delivery, and can be assembled almost anywhere, no heavy machinery required. They can be on site within a week, thereby reducing the hassle of procurement processes, and create a temporary solution to the enormous lack of educational facilities in South Africa.

The project has taken off well, and is funded across the country by several non-profit organisations like Breadline Africa and the Nelson Mandela Day Initiative, as well as Shout SA, Talk Radio 702 and Exclusive Books. — Linda Doke

Twitter: @ArchiOfJustice