Solid Green Internship: Mapula Matlakala
From its inception, Solid Green has taken the practice of mentoring students very seriously. Here, Mapula Matlakala shares her experience of working as a young, enthusiastic member of the Solid Green team.7
Originally from Polokwane in Limpopo Province, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Construction Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2016. I am currently working towards my Honours in Construction Management, with my research mainly focusing on Biophilic Design and Living Walls and their impact on Indoor Air Quality.
Solid Green is an amazing environment – from the office space and the atmosphere to the amazing people I work with. The team has been patient with me and in a short space of time I have learnt a lot, particularly how to incorporate design, construction and operational practices in order to reduce the harmful effects of buildings on the environment. This whole experience has advanced and enhanced my abilities to solve problems.
I have mainly been working on climate and sunlight hours and some energy models for projects like Garden City Business Park in Nairobi, Kenya. Understanding Building Physics is vital as technology in the construction industry is developing quickly. Being taught how to use the various modelling software puts me at an advantage as a Construction student and I now understand how important is to design high performance buildings that are both comfortable and functional.
Early in my internship, I also enrolled in the Green Building Council South Africa’s New Buildings Accredited Professional course, which gave me a better and broader understanding of how to implement green building strategies.
I am currently working on a Living Building Challenge project in Cape Town and have been quite involved with the Biophilic Design aspect of the Challenge. This has informed my decision to study Biophilia as my research topic for my Honours later this year. It is an exciting and very important topic that has given me the opportunity to think outside the box, become innovative, and grow as a professional. The fact that the Living Building Challenge uses the metaphor of a flower fits perfectly with what I believe in – the incorporation of Beauty, Health and Place with Sustainability creates biophilic designs that bring people and nature together.
I believe it is my duty to make sure that everything that I do professionally has a good impact and contributes to the development of our country through quality and sustainable design as well as through best building practises. I enjoy coming up with innovative ideas and pushing the envelope in terms of thinking long term and thinking sustainably. The Solid Green family has afforded me the opportunity to bring together my work as a construction manager and a sustainability consultant, and has placed me a step closer to achieving my goals.