Pro Landscaper Africa June University, Campus and Cultural Issue

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J U N E 2 0 2 1 | U N I V E R S I T Y, C A M P U S A N D C U LT U R A L I S S U E

+ ARCHITECT


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LEADER

ED's NOTE June is an issue with a youthful spirit, exploring university nodes, student accomodation and institutional spaces. There is a lot to be said for this sector, as we have seen it growing and innovating to accommodate the need for contemporary student housing, safer spaces and inclusive and inspirational campus developments for users. Despite the current pandemic, we have seen iconic 18-storey builds like 56 Jorissen, biophilic Future Africa Campus and the phased University Square take their places in this arena as examples of how builds of the future will materialise. Recently we have seen the first student residence in SA (as featured in our June 2020 issue), University of Cape Town’s Avenue Road Residence by Jakupa Architects and cndv landscape architects, earn a four-star green star rating from the GBCSA which again is a huge indicator of the exciting territory we are heading into. In this issue we bring you some of these fantastic upgrades and new builds with our main interview spotlighting the renowned Pieter Mathews of Mathews + Associates Architects and curated features by Anji Connell, Frank Kleinschmidt, Sarah Tuke and 2020 SALI Shield Winner, Deon van Eeden. June is also youth month, so we thought it fitting to launch our 2021 Faces of the Future Campaign- now open for entries! More inside… @prolandscaperafrica

Enjoy an issue full of flair and fantastic content.

@Pro Landscaper Africa

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06 – Landscape Architect’s Journal

34 – Focus: Introducing

By Abigail Sendall

08

– Focus: Introducing Viruskiller

Culture in the Open: Designing for publicly accessible cultural spaces

By Sarah Luposo Tuke, Boogertman + Partners

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Pieter Mathews, from Mathews + Associates Architects

P ORT

10 -

Phoenix Bulletblok By Phoenix Glass

36 – An Interview with:

By Ambius: Rentokil Initial

FO

LIOS

43 – Almost on Campus: 56 Jorissen

By LYT Architects and Life Landscapes

50 – Brooklyn House

– Arcologies

By Frank Kleinschmidt, Landscape Architect

By Boogertman + Partners

56 – Akanyang:

20 – Delayed Gratification,

the Value of Restoration

By Deon van Eeden, Vula Environmental Services

By Anji Connell, ACID+

2021 Launch

Open for entries

Architects and Bidvest Top Turf

66 – Upgrading Doornfontein

Interior Design

30 – Faces of the Future

By Two Five Five Architects

By Arc Architects, Insite Landscape

25 – Art for all

University of Pretoria

62 – UP Engineering 4.0

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By kwpCREATE

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70 – Depot Boijmans van Beuningen

(Rotterdam Museum)

By MVRDV

74 – Company Profile:

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LAJ

LANSDCAPE ARCHITECTS JOURNAL: SEA + SURVIVAL Choreographing dune systems to defend against sea-level rise.

By Abigail Sendall, 2020 Masters of Landscape Architecture graduate from the University of Cape Town and winner of two ILASA 2021 awards for: Best Student in the MLA Programme and Best Dissertation. Sea + Survival is a systems-based project located in the mouth of Langebaan Lagoon, of the greater Saldanha region, South Africa. Where Langebaan was noted to be of significant risk to sea-level rise storm-surges and flooding events by Western Cape Sea-Level Report, Sea + Survival utilises the dune system’s ability to act like a sponge as the primary means to combat the sea-level rise in Langebaan. Including the protection of the area, the project has the aim of achieving three goals; one is to use natural systems as defences, two is to reduce existing ecological and societal pressures in Langebaan, and three is to respond to the cultural histories within the region. Langebaan was analysed through a material lens and is found to be comprised of three primary

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material driving forces. These materials are: water, sand, and stone. Water and sand highlight the foundational clocks of Langebaan, and stone contains the cultural value of Langebaan as the residual materials of the past tend to be or are encased in stone. For example, Oudepost 1 is the first military base in Langebaan and the walls contain material evidence of the coeval occupation of the area by both the Dutch and Khoekhoe. Further cultural evidence within the landscape’s palimpsest is the first human exploitation of the marine environment for food. This material memory is in the form of shell middens and suggests the intrinsic reliance on the coast as a resource. In-line with this, Langebaan was established as a small fishing town with the dominant population were Cape Malay. During Apartheid, many of these occupants were subsequently removed by the Group Areas Act of 1950. This removal has led to Langebaan being a primarily holiday and retirement town with massive privatisation of the beach complex. The marginalised Cape Malay community is left

with limited access to the coastline and are living in the high-risk area for sea-level rise. Stone is now being used as a visible and last resort sea-defence to protect the shoreward properties from erosion by waves. This is due to the shoreward development suffocating the dune systems, through the steady excavation and burial of the dunes. This suffocation renders the dunes inoperable and unable to perform the ecosystem service of protecting inland areas of the coast. Sea defence options are challenged by the absence of coastal space. Therefore, the design proposal is a land claim in the form of two ecological islands that harness the natural systems of the region. These systems are the aeolian sediment transport, the tidal forces of the lagoon, and the salt marsh complex in the West Coast National Park. The design proposal directly responds to the pinch-point created by irresponsible coastal development releasing the pressure on the existing public spaces in the town and reintroducing/strengthening cultural practices.


LAJ

The main node is found where the activity along the beach edge of ‘Vis Eiland’ begins unravelling. Here, the design looks at the ocean as a resource and a recreational space by designing artisanal Khoekhoe vis-vywers (fish weirs) to function both as marine food provision and as a tidal pool. The shapes of the weirs are derived from the patterns created by Oudepost 1 paving ruins and quarried stone from the old sea defences are repurposed as adventure play and surface area to engage with intertidal rocky shores.

The forms of the islands were derived from three process-based experiments: EXPERIMENT 1: Water is flowed through the model, simulating the ebb current, and drained into the ‘bay’. EXPERIMENT 2: Sand is placed on the model surface and water flows through the model. EXPERIMENT 3: Two non-formed islands are placed offshore and water flows through the model. The islands are placed on the existing subtidal sandbars on either side of the channel. These experiments performed the role of the channel and aided in a better understanding of the channel in relation to the sandbars. The last experiment supported my initial intuition on the idea of a land claim and the quality of dune systems. The experiments also showed that the maintenance of the channel’s integrity is important for the hydrodynamic balance of the system. The idea of forming the island is based on McHarg’s theory of a naturally formed island

from a subtidal sandbar. McHarg explains the creation of a dune island from a subtidal sandbar, where eroded sediment is deposited onto the sandbar until it is raised above the water, sand is then transported through the wind and waves, and dunes are formed. Wind and waves are mediums that carry sand particles through suspension and then deposit the grains. The particles move via saltation and pile-up to begin to form the dune. Foredunes are fed by water, where the water deposits sand and erodes sand during the rise and fall action of tides.

The temporal realm is explored by submerging the landscape. The landscape is concealed and revealed through tidal action and the dunes eat away at the geometric-man-made edges, exploring how the deposition of sand naturally softens sharp edges. Coastal landscapes are cosmic spaces, so to pay respect to their nature, large platforms have a minimalistic approach where levelling creates seating, and the views are uncompromised. The platforms then taper off into the pools, initiating a human-scaled engagement with the ocean. The human-scale is further explored through miniature dunes that pierce the large platform creating play spaces and lending to the idea of this as an explorative landscape of water, sand, and stone.

It is important to note that the forming of the island is a continuous process due to the transient nature of systems they will take decades to form and continue to morph indefinitely.

The concept is to provide a resource and space for the marginalised local Cape Malay community, whilst not excluding and acknowledging the seasonal influx of holidaymakers.

Once formed the islands are named ‘Voël Eiland’ and ‘Vis Eiland’ based on their programs and connectivities to the mainland. Where ‘Voël Eiland’ (meaning Bird Island) is a low activity island, ‘Vis Eiland’ (meaning Fish Island) plays the role of releasing the pressure on the existing public spaces in the town and reintroducing and strengthening cultural practices, such as artisan fishing.

Lastly, as a demonstration of the continual morphing and evolution of the system, Voël Eiland’ coalesces with Skaap Eiland forming a large bird breeding island, and ‘Vis Eiland’ joins the mainland and creates an accessible, sensitive and meaningful space, revealing the memory of the site which protects Langebaan from being submerged.

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CULTURE IN THE OPEN: Designing for publicly accessible cultural spaces

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F E AT U R E

By Sarah Luposo Tuke, Landscape Architect at Boogertman + Partners and Faces of the Future Nominee 2020.

“My body has frozen in our frosts and in our latter-day snows. It has thawed in the warmth of our sunshine and melted in the heat of the midday sun. The crack and the rumble of the summer thunders, lashed by startling lightening, have been a cause both of trembling and of hope” As goes a string of letters sewn together to capture one of Africa’s most significant cultural moments in written form. The speech embodies the sentiment that common ground and shared space create a unified identity and bond. “The fragrances of nature have been as pleasant to us as the sight of the wild blooms of the citizens of the veld.” It was by no mistake that the then deputy president Thabo Mbeki opened his 1996 ‘I Am an African’ speech with a visual of himself, and of all of us, identifying as Africans because of our connection to and interaction with natural elements of the landscape – because it is our unified grounding. This speech 25 years later is still chilling and encourages a sense of belonging that designers of public spaces aspire to inspire in users. There exists a connection between the speech given in 1996 and the current disposition that we have to public spaces in modern day South Africa, and Africa – especially publicly accessible cultural spaces. The speech clasps the sentiment often promised within or leading up to a cultural public space; a sentiment awakening: pride, a sense of belonging and a conscious awareness of the gravity of the present moment. However, a respectfully iconoclastic observation is that many cultural spaces today would be lucky to awaken even half this sentiment only after a user has read a textbook on why this space is important. Why is this? Why is it that in a country with such a rich history placed on the tip of a continent with a diverse story, it is not effortless to awaken gravitas through an array of cultural spaces? And why does this hinder the designing of publicly accessible cultural spaces? I share my opinion on this through three sub-questions:

What is culture? Where has culture gotten us now? Where can we still go? What is culture? According to the online Oxford Dictionary, culture is: “The way of life of a people, including their attitudes, values, beliefs, arts, sciences, modes of perception, and habits of thought and activity. Cultural features forms of life learned but often too pervasive to be readily noticed from within.” On our modern tongues, the word culture is often mummified to mean something of the distant past to be framed as a societal touchstone. The magnificence of the Oxford description is it recalls that culture is also what you and I consciously and unconsciously create today. Referring to the ‘I Am an African’ speech’s significance; it is freely available to read, easily and safely accessible and alive. What the latter point means is that there is no serious need to read textbooks to understand the significance of the speech, you already know the struggles of society and what your personal inflictions have been – so this speech is set to soothe a raw and unsolved aspect of our society which forms part of our live culture. Just as the speech, you contribute to a live cultural evolution daily and a denial of this within our cities restricts its necessary involvement in the design of public spaces. Where has culture gotten us now? Being based in Pretoria, for this section, I will mainly refer to spaces in Pretoria. Three types of cultural spaces we sit with include: museums (such as Pretoria National Museum and Freedom Park); open parks (such as Burgers Park and Venning Park) and open destinations (such as The Union Buildings Gardens and Mothong African Heritage Trust and Village). Having these categories indicates that we must have, or have had, some culture of utilising common spaces for recreation, for historical and cultural preservation, or for political commemoration. This is echoed when we study the timeline in which public spaces were developed within the city and suburbs. From 1905, the now named Springbok Park was conceived as a part of the Hatfield layout; then in 1913 both the Union Buildings prolandscaper.co.za

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F E AT U R E

with their gardens and Venning Park with its rosarium was completed, then in 1964 then the Pretoria National Museum was completed – the path of development led towards a city with open access. Finally, in 2007, the completion of Freedom Park commemorated South Africa’s first democratic election and fullundistorted history. The unfolding of Pretoria from 1905 to 1964 as laid-out above, shows a city developing a culture of dependence on open spaces and public access to cultural spaces. The development of 2007 highlights an architecture as a flag of democracy. The former era indicates a live cultural adaption into public space – but one that is un-evolving to the growth of its city, and the latter one that needed to hold historical culture above live culture. Both arguably may have needed their place in history, but it seems we are now stranded in an era unable to consolidate these open spaces and continuously focus on historical or political culture when creating public spaces. Where can we still go? We can encourage the manifestation of live culture and contextual/regionalist cultural expressions through architecture and design in public spaces beyond solely the celebration of political history or the museumification of ancient culture.

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On the masterplanning level, this may entail the linking of existing and new cultural nodes through the city to act as a passage through cities and suburbs which both incorporate a live culture and combat our historical spatial layouts of exclusion. On the landscape architectural level, we could avoid the delusion that traditional culture and ancient culture are the only cultures that exist and have clients encourage landscape architects to explore the consequences of live culture on how spaces are used and how product design should come together to create socially comfortable, secure, and inclusive public spaces. The question of how to design for publicly accessible cultural spaces is wildly complex,

and anyone who answers this with a simple answer is not giving the question it's fair weight. Whether designing for access to traditional, cultural, ancient, or live cultural spaces – each of these require an unveiling of how space is used before any pen is put to paper to generate a pretty or environmentally conscious design. It is not an easy feat, but it is an exercise worth carrying out to answer a question worth its effort. As Thabo Mbeki said:

“Gloria est consequenda – glory must be sought after! [and] Today it feels good to be an African."


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ARCOLOGIES

F E AT U R E

Fantastical spires with lush vegetation hanging over the edges. Massive glass domes with forested cities contained within. Enormous gardens floating above the clouds or drifting on placid waves. The term ‘arcology’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘architecture’ and ‘ecology’ and has been used since the 1960s to apply to any man-made structure that creates a completely self-contained (at least in appearance) living environment. What first comes to mind when thinking about arcologies are the cities of dystopian futures, where massive structures protect the last remnants of mankind against a toxic environment. In the film The Island, the cloning institute is portrayed as a series of self-contained towers, protecting against the radioactive environment outside. In Paolo Bacigalupi’s novel, The Water Knife, competing arcologies drain the Colorado River to supply their massive water demands to the exclusion of each other and smaller and poorer settlements. In the video game SimCity 2000, arcologies are fancifully portrayed as enormous towers with rooftop gardens contained with immense glass domes. However, in real terms, arcologies are not only the stuff of utopian ideals. Today, an arcology is typically a collection of connected structures that are almost entirely self-reliant, providing food, water and shelter for their inhabitants with little to no reliance on the outside world. The original example, Arcosanti, is the brainchild of the controversial architect Paolo Soleri. Based in the Arizona desert, this complex consists of a cluster of buildings surrounded by acres of working landscapes. Almost no external inputs are required to sustain the active population, although the current population of around 150 people is far less than the envisioned 5,000. Given that the settlement uses just 25 out of its 4,000-acre compound, the key objective of Arcosanti is to demonstrate how a compact community can exist within the landscape. The settlement is now largely considered to be a tourist destination though, catering to over 40,000 annual visitors wishing to take part in the various manufacturing workshops and learn more about the principles of arcologies.

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Other famous architects have also thrown their hat into the ring in developing schemes where the plethora of human needs are served within a single physical enclosure. Frank Lloyd Wright proposed Broadacre Acre, a ten square kilometre settlement that would have blended suburban living with supporting productive landscapes. Old Man River’s City, by the architect Buckminster Fuller, suggested that a city of 125,000 be housed within an immense domed structure, intending to solve both transit issues and an anticipated housing crisis. The Lily Pad by Vincent Callebaut proposes floating cities as a refuge for communities displaced by future natural disasters and rising sea levels. These schemes and the many other concepts developed over the years are all suggestive of at least some semblance of a self-contained settlement. While it might seem peculiar to list the Las Vegas Strip, the casino complex in the Nevada desert utilises linking underground tunnels and a variety of climate and resource controlling mechanisms to create a faux self-contained system. In some ways, it embodies the idea of living within the system, although the Strip does require massive amounts of external resources to sustain its transient population. By contrast, a truer self-sustaining community exists in one of the harshest regions of the planet: Antarctica. The Halley Research Station has existed since 1956, and while its structure is somewhat temporary in nature (it requires periodic relocation and lifting), the population of the Station live for months on end with no external input, generating their own energy and recycling their own waste materials. There are also several projects planned for the near future that are modelled on the principles of arcology. Under development in Abu Dhabi, the Masdar City project is a self-contained six square-kilometre settlement intended to house up to 50,000 people. Power, water and crops will also be produced entirely within this city, where waste products will be reused in their entirety and solar power will alleviate the need for any fossil fuels. Whilst heavily criticised, architect Liam Young’s Planet City also suggests a future where a giant dense city houses the global population, leaving the rest of the planet to transform into a sprawling wilderness. While Young’s proposal doesn’t deliver on specifics, it suggests that a

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circular economy is the basis for this megastructure, By confining urban development to a single region, the remainder of our urban spaces would be restored to both the natural environment and those who have been dispossessed of their ancestral lands. While curious as a concept, the proposal suggests conditions similar to that of Kowloon City, the now-demolished hyper-dense city block in Hong Kong that at one point boasted a staggering population density of over 1.2 million people per square-kilometre, and a plethora of health and social problems.

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These varied examples paint a strange future, without a doubt. In some ways, the principles of arcologies are already being applied to contemporary buildings, with the introduction of smart building systems such as BIM, roof gardens, and the growing utilisation of greywater systems. Emerging self-sufficiency in terms of water and energy are harbingers of a future where utilities are no longer provided. Landscape architects will invariably stand at the centre of these future projects. Uniquely placed to interrogate both the urban and ecological implications of the built environment, it will be essential for landscape architects to bring their own expertise to bear. Closing the ecological loop within arcologies will rely on a variety of landscape architectural elements. The passive treatment of greywater within the landscape, the recycling of carbon dioxide through the incorporation of indoor forests, and the production of food with micro-gardens will all rely on design elements landscape architects already utilise in design. By engaging on these projects, landscape architects can offer natural and passive solutions to aspects of the building systems that would otherwise require artificial methods. One only hopes that in the distant future arcologies offer opportunities to remediate our natural environment, rather than offering refuge from a ruined planet. If anything, these hypothetical grand structures are a gentle reminder of how our cities need to adopt more circular ecological attitudes in the immediate future.

By Frank Kleinschmidt, Landscape Architect

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1. Arcology: The City in the Image of the Man by Paolo Soleri 2. Arcosanti: The worlds first Arcology prototype, Arizona. 3. Self-sustainable living in energy efficient Earthship high mountain desert. Taos, New Mexico. 4. Arcosanti is an experimental town with a molten bronze bell casting business in Yavapai County, central Arizona, USA. December 2016. 5. Structures at Sustainability Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020, United Arab Emirates, March 2021.


CONCEPT TO CONCLUSION - INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR UNIQUE PROBLEMS Dune Management // Restoration // Eco Landscapes +27 82 564 5748 | admin@vula.biz | www.vula.biz


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F E AT U R E

D

uring 1996, I was confronted by a vast and derelict 650ha open-cast mine (that had been closed for a few years) – now known as the West Coast Fossil Park (WCFP). The last thing that came to mind was the possibility that 25 years later, I would still have a continued relationship with this project and that it would be declared a National Heritage Site in 2014, and become a centre of excellence in palaeontology. We also proudly earned the 2002 SALI Award of Excellence for our work completed at this site. At the beginning, all we had to work with was a conceptual rehabilitation plan, a three-month proof of concept contract, and no idea to how to actually do a job of this magnitude in an area where the rainfall averages only 270mm per year. The summer temperatures reach low 40s, and the howling south-easterly wind does not provide respite, and many other challenges of a different nature. The reason for me being selected for this adventure at the time, was because I have always been rather gung-ho, like challenges and had experience in rehabilitation of railway lines, mountain passes and dunes. The mine pre-dates concurrent rehabilitation, which has become norm and was in fact a very random mess of overburden dumps and massive excavations, with no topsoil in sight. In the early winter of 1996, I workshopped some ideas based on lessons I had learned in the previous decade while working on the railways and with the conultants, CES. The result was a rather extensive battery of trails to test some methodologies in the different soils of the old mine ranging from beach sand like tailings dams to calcrete.

most were considered difficult or impossible to grow. The upshot of this was that we had to invest in training our people in plant propagation. Using a cheap, low tech nursery, we experimented with local soil media (the soil on the project site is very alkaline, between pH 8.4 to pH 9.2) and a variety of structures such as heated beds. The growing season on the West Coast is very short, with early rains starting in May and ending early September in a good year. In a bad year, the rainfall could start as late as July and only provide 75mm of rainfall before ending in August. The investment in people paid off, and some of the staff that joined our team as general workers as far back as 1996 are now managers, and shareholders in the Vula Shareholders Trust. Key knowledge gained is being transferred to the next generation to ensure the perpetuation of the intellectual property and ensure that the institutional knowledge is retained and built on for future projects. Research findings and experience gained while transforming the Chemfos mine to the West Coast Fossil Park over a 10-year period, formed the base for my MSc studies. Monitoring the original trails for a 13-year period, provided me with a unique opportunity and unlocked insights not normally observed in short term studies. This valuable data was further used

in developing several other rehabilitation and restoration strategies for other mine and conservation offset sites in lieu of development sites, primarily in the Fynbos, Namaqualand, and Karoo regions. Since the mine site was largely transformed, finding suitable species from the surrounding area that would tolerate the post mining environment, lead to the discovery of new populations of several species of conservation concern – most notably, the previously unrecorded natural hybrid of Limonium peregrinum x capense. This hybrid as well as one of the West Coast endemic parents, the L capense, is under threat due to habitat destruction caused by industrial development – i.e., Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone and rampant urbanisation. The WCFP offers conservation status protection for a number of these plants, including: Limonium capense and Limonium peregrinum. In finding ways to increase the germination rates of particularly long-lived species of the local plant seeds, “smoke water” was used. The use of this was pioneered by Brown (SANBI) and Boucher (US) but was a logistical nightmare on the scale of hundreds of hectares. Experimentation led to the development of a novel new product, later called FireGrow; this is an extremely concentrated smoke formulation that stimulates not only seed of fire climax vegetation but a very wide range of plant seeds.

The 26 replicated trails informed the way forward and the interpretation and insights gained later formed the basis for the approaches used in other open cast mines in the Western and Northern Cape. The principal of seed-based restoration was used and augmented by establishing clusters of propagated plants to accelerate the natural vegetation cycle. In the days pre-dating the SANBI flowering plant field guides, horticultural know-how and intuition aided the choice for propagation specific plants by either cuttings or seeds. None of the commercial nurseries were interested in contract growing the plants at the time as they were unknown to the industry and prolandscaper.co.za

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This innovation made it very cost effective to use the seed primer on all sites that use seedbased techniques. The Fossil Park is now home to one of the biggest collections of Miocene fossils collections in the world. Here, the focus is on education and training as well as tourism, providing insights into the world at the very early stages of the development of fynbos in the region. The influence of climate change is insightful and it is hard to believe that the now arid West Coast was once a tropical environment. In the Fossil Park Amphitheatre, plants resembling the Miocene era were planted and reflect in stark contrast with the modern-day vegetation of Saldanha Flats Strandveld, and Saldanha Limestone Strandveld. Researchers, students and tourists are afforded a rare opportunity not only to explore the unique fossil find but also the surrounding 650ha of conservation area that was once a dusty opencast mine. The process of restoration is ongoing and the battle against invasive species such as Acacia cyclops is relentless and provides sobering insights in how careless we are in our dealings with our planet earth. Fortunately, we do learn and the future is secure in the knowledge gained and lessons learned at this fascinating place Vula Environmental Services has called home for the past 25 years. By Deon van Eeden, MD of Vula Environmental Services

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ART FOR ALL

By Anji Connell, ACID+ Interior Design

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25 Suspension of Disbelief by Doreen Southwood at Ellerman House. Image: Ellerman House


F E AT U R E

A

rt has the power to bring together individuals from all walks of life and unite them in pride, satisfaction, and joy. Public art can add enormous value to a community's cultural, aesthetic, and economic vitality. It contributes to a neighbourhood's identity, fosters community pride and generates a sense of belonging, while enhancing the quality of life for its residents and visitors. Art translates across all boundaries requiring no common language, class, or religion. It gives a voice to the voiceless, provides an outlet for telling others about their pain and struggles and their joy and celebrations. However, successful public art is not an easy task – as summed up by the American urbanist, sociologist, organisational analyst, journalist, and people-watcher William H. (Holly) Whyte in New York City in the 1970s, "It is difficult to design a space that will not attract people; what is remarkable is how often this has been accomplished." Public art or visual art in public spaces can be big or small; hover overhead or sit beneath your feet – there are no set rules on what it must look like or what medium or form it takes. But what it should do is heighten awareness, make us think, spark debate, and help make art accessible to everyone. It should excite, stimulate, energise, lift our spirits and our imaginations. The success of good public art relies heavily upon the design of the public space in which it is located. Firstly, the site needs to be easily accessible with good transport links, places to park, be well maintained, very importantly, make us feel safe. It should have amenities such as seating, shade, food, and drink. It also needs to be connected to other places, as if once viewed there is nothing to do and nowhere else to go, people will not take time out to visit the works of art. Thankfully today, there is much public art that engages and unites communities, inviting active dialogue rather than just passive observation, thereby fostering social interaction that can lead to a sense of social cohesion and pride and a sense of ownership over our parks, streets, and public institutions. South Africa's first International Public Art Festival (IPAF) is a 10-day festival showcasing public art. Founded by BazArt co-founders Alexandre Tilmans and Sebastien, set up to

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Anton Smit at Delaire Graff


F E AT U R E

Fallen Angel Bronze by Beezy Bailey at Leeu Estate.

Betty Fox by Falko

Cape Town street art, by Wayne Bks

Bosjes Chapel. Image: Adam Letch

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F E AT U R E

harness the power of creativity to improve and brighten people's lives through art. The now yearly street art festival enhances neighbourhoods with large-scale murals, art classes for children, training, and opportunities for the unemployed while encouraging entrepreneurs to set up spin-off businesses such as food stalls and street art guides. It's a win-win.

Sotho word meaning "place of light," and it has indeed brought new light to the city. Art has played a key role in Maboneng's regeneration, and it’s now Jozi's coolest neighbourhood, and South Africa's answer to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It has dozens of public artworks within a handful of easily walkable blocks around the main drag of Fox Street.

Graff's personal art collection, showcasing some of South Africa's finest contemporary artists, and Spier Wine Farm has one of the largest contemporary South African art collections. They regularly incorporate performance, installation, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, and film, from young, highly talented artists – emerging and established.

South Africa has a rich history, but democracy is still fresh, so there is still a lot of healing around race and identity. However, contemporary African art has been making waves globally, drawing attention from local and international art collectors and critics.

Annual art fairs in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, along with vibrant gallery scenes, have been steadily growing, and South Africa has become the continent's art and design hub. Plus, First Thursdays were developed to draw attention to the buzzing art culture in South Africa. Available in Cape Town and Johannesburg on the first Thursday of every month, tourists and locals now have the opportunity to explore cultural events and support local art talent. You can walk the streets, spending as much time as you want to at the various galleries and museums open late in the evenings.

Public art, street art, contemporary urban art festivals, and pop-ups are blossoming worldwide, bringing our cities to life, making them places we want to live in and explore.

"It is difficult to design a space that will not attract people; what is remarkable is how often this has been accomplished."

filled with public art installations and street art. The Maboneng precinct, Jeppestown, and Newtown are transformed through street art that encourages artists, designers, and visitors to bring the many cafés, restaurants, and art galleries. Maboneng takes its name from a

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oR ow e.

Prin sl o

Art is also an integral part of the Cape Winelands experience. Wine farms offer great wines and incredible art collections that enable more people to admire, appreciate, and criticise art without the intimidating formality of visiting a gallery. Everard Reed's new Art Gallery and Sculpture Gallery at Leeu Estate in Franschhoek focuses on monumental sculpture in the breathtaking gardens and vineyards. The Gallery at Grande Provence is very well-known by art enthusiasts for showcasing some of South Africa's finest established and emerging artists with regular exhibitions held in the gallery and gardens of sculptures, ceramics, and photographs. Delaire Graff Estate showcases Laurence

ite Horses in Green Point by M ariek e

Johannesburg usually plays second fiddle to Cape Town's art scene; however, Johannesburg aims to be the largest street art city in the world by 2040 and already has 460 official works, and it's believed unofficial works probably bring the number closer to 1,000. Much of the city's public art is concentrated in the Newtown Cultural Precinct with commissioned sculptures and artworks and a vibrant street art scene. The Newtown Precinct, with its rich history of biodiversity and culture, is now the centre of arts in the city of Gold. It's booming with new developments, including galleries, museums, theatres. Joburg's Braamfontein is another example of vibrant inner-city regeneration. The streets are

Gardens, too, are an art form that has been especially important during our post covid times. The Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden a botanical paradise nestled within a dramatic mountain setting, has expansive grounds spanning six acres, showcasing over sixty monumental pieces by the artist. Including his larger-than-life bronze wild cats, muscular, masculine torsos, and female figurative forms are all carefully positioned within the gorgeous vistas he has sculpted from the land.

Wh Litt le

The recent opening of the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town is a world-class museum and the largest museum, and collection of contemporary African art in the world, and the first public art space, to open in the past century, The Museum of African Contemporary Art, Al Maaden in Marrakech, and the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar all aim to propel the African perspective to the forefront of the global art community.

Anji Connell


Gorilla Smoking Cigar by Banksy IPAF 2019 Street art by Bart Smeets

Stefan Lie Ribs 1998 bench rereleased in an outdoor version by DesignByThem.

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FACES OF THE FUTURE


2021 OPEN FOR ENTRIES

F E AT U R E

FACES OF THE FUTURE: The Next Generation was born of a passion for all things design and build and a belief in the value of South Africa’s young professionals. The team at Pro Landscaper + Architect is incredibly proud to be championing this inspired initiative, having seen over the years 40 mentions and three grand winners of the prestigious title. It’s helped propel our winners into the limelight, with the majority going on to bigger and better things and some having their products and services sourced for builds since scooping their mentions.

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F E AT U R E

WHO SHOULD ENTER We are championing the architects, designers (both interior and exterior), contractors, product innovators and industry entrepreneurs making waves within the built environment. If this sounds like you or someone you know, we want you to get in touch! RULES The rules are simple, you can nominate yourself/a colleague or an employee as long as the nominee was aged 30 or under on 1 January 2021 this year and currently works within the build industry (interior or exterior). WHY ENTER Aside from CV credentials, and the honour of being selected for a special mention, there are prizes for the winners – from must-have gadgets you’ll need to go about your professional tasks, to internships and even cash prizes to help you realise your dreams! Our team receives hundreds of applications every year, so be sure to make yours stand out from the crowd. Contact our editorial team: tamsyn@paperplanepublications.co.za to suggest your nominations. We’ll send you a brief/contact your nominee. (Entrants must have worked in the industry for at least one year).

SPONSOR

2019 WINNER Lesego Bantsheng 32

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F E AT U R E

2018 WINNER Aphelele Cengimbo

“It’s time to shine a spotlight on the future of the industry, and what better time than during youth month to launch our renowned campaign.”

2020 WINNER Nabeelah Kader-Hashim


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INTRODUCING PHOENIX BULLETBLOK Phoenix Fenestration & Glass manufactures high-performing transparent materials that are used extensively in military, security, mining, commercial and residential sectors. The field of glass technology is constantly and rapidly evolving, making it one of the most sophisticated building materials and keeping it at the forefront of providing enhanced safety, security, energy efficiency, sound reduction, insulation and aesthetic solutions. Phoenix Fenestration & Glass interacts with engineers and professional teams at the conception stage of projects and are renowned for their ability to provide their clients with tangible results. One of Phoenix Fenestration & Glass’s areas of specialisation is the manufacturing of ballistic and anti-intrusion products, which are frequently specified to bolster the security of homes and townhouse complexes with guardhouses, and are capable of resisting armed attacks and hijackings. Phoenix BulletBlok’s line of bullet-resistant glass has been designed and engineered using the latest technology, drawing on experience gleaned from many years in the industry. This range makes use of all-glass assemblies, which are heavier and thicker than more technically advanced composite bullet-resistant glass, but offer cost-saving benefits. This range uses the same bonding process as composite bulletresistant glass, but without the use of the sophisticated interlayers to provide superior protection.

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KEE Enterprises, commercial office block


INTERVIEW

30 MINUTES WITH: M AT H E WS + A S S O C I AT E S A R C H I T E C T S

P Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool Art Campus

ro Landscaper + Architect sits down with Pieter Mathews, principal architect and founder of Mathews + Associates Architects, to chat about the award-winning firm and projects across South Africa.

completing their studies and continuing a career in architecture.

Q: When was Mathews + Associates Architects (MAAA) founded?

The role of the architect is to contribute to a built environment with spaces that offer people meaningful experiences. I believe that buildings should tell stories, stories of place, history, context, and institutional ambition. This adds a special dimension to functional structures. My mantra is that a brick in a poetic building costs exactly the same as a brick in a mundane building.

Mathews + Associates Architects was founded in 2000, following a five-year partnership of Mathews and Gerber. Our intent has always been to make architecture more accessible and bring it into the public realm. When the firm was first formed, there was a desire to break away from the “Tuscan“ style of the 90s and explore an alternative aesthetic, rooted in Africa. Q: What trends and forecasts do you see in architecture currently and which are you most intrigued by?

Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria, additions and alterations to the E. C. Steijn Hall

The construction industry finds itself in dire straits. I believe the future of the profession lies in our ability to engage more in divergent activities and to be open to explore alternatives. Rather than specialising in one architectural typology, our firm takes on diverse projects and also dabbles in curation, publishing and corporate identity. I see a growing rise in refurbishments and smallscale design projects. People are spending more time at home and are willing to pay for quality ‘jewellery-like’ design for more intimate spaces. I believe that home studies and studios are the foreseeable future of small architecture firms. Q: How does your firm champion the youth within the industry? Our firm annually hosts an open day for learners and students who are interested in studying architecture. This full day exposes the learners to the industry, our work environment and the architect's process. The day includes a student brief and a certificate required by tertiary institutions for student applications. We have hosted this open day for more than a decade and have heard of many of our attendees

Q: What do you consider to be the most important role of an architect?

Q: What types of spaces are MAAA more geared towards and why? (Public and cultural, commercial, industrial, educational?) We have experience in a variety of typologies, but two stand out in our portfolio, namely educational buildings and transport architecture. At the moment, two transport projects are under construction. The largest is the Wonderboom Intermodal Facility in Pretoria North that will form a gateway to the CBD and terminal for the North-South line of the Tshwane BRT system. The other project is the Hand Bridge in Musina which forms part of the SANRAL (Soc) Pty Ltd Musina Bypass project. Both of these projects serve as landmarks along important transportation routes. Educational architecture is also important, and we have a lot of experience in this field, the Javett: UP was even featured in the June 2020 issue of Pro Landscaper. The Art Campus of the Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool was awarded the SAIA award for Best Educational Building in 2016. At their sister school across the road, we have completed five buildings, transforming the school campus. These projects included additions and alterations to the hall, a swimming pool and pavilion, a sports centre and an afterschool facility and cafeteria. We are currently busy with three new buildings on the North West University Vaal Campus.

prolandscaper.co.za Musina Hand bridge (currently under construction)

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INTERVIEW

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TRT Rivonia Trial station

Q: Are there any collaborations you would love to be a part of? We are always open to collaborations and enjoy interacting with other disciplines. A signature of our work and working process is our collaborations with artists and sculptors, which we’d like to continue and expand. I find they give a fresh perspective and add another layer to the thought process. Our work is often designed with specific artworks or potential artworks in mind. A good example of this is

Any institution should have a development plan. However, I am wary of development plans based on theory and bird’s eye observations. We have found that working on a smaller scale asks one to observe and investigate existing patterns of use which often leads to alternative proposals not necessarily envisioned in a master plan. For example, the master plan for the Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool proposed additions to the school hall alongside the existing footprint, but when visiting during a break time I observed that the learners use the lawn area to socialise. This led to the decision to propose a gallery space extension above the existing footprint to preserve this communal space. Q: How do you think the building industry will overcome COVID-19, and what are some of the key take-aways for your firm?

w

I built two houses for myself on a very limited budget in the 90s which felt like a great achievement at the time. Apart from that, I would have to say that being the curator for the official South African Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale was a highlight. Furthermore, the Memory Box TRT stations that are dotted throughout the Pretoria CBD in historically sensitive locations and the Nellmapius Bridge which serves as Southern gateway to Pretoria, were two other design privileges I was lucky to see completed. KEE Enterprises, a commercial building with a sculptural intent is another. Of course, the Javett Art Centre at the University

Q: How important is communal space in your development plans?

ne

Q: What have been some of your proudest builds over the years?

Paradoxically, I see the outdoor, in between spaces, where people meet and socialise as the most inclusive spaces. Oftentimes the interior spaces are dictated by the demands of the programme, but the exterior spaces are the ones we all engage with. These should not be seen as leftover space, but as spaces that allow us to socialise, rest and come into contact with the façade and the sculptural qualities of a building. We design with a cognisance of embodied experience, seasonal impact and shadows and light that make us aware of the here and the now.

s,

Mathews and Gerber’s first project was a small ablution block in Atteridgeville, Pretoria. When Mathews + Associates Architects was founded, we entered the residential market, specifically building well-designed houses on a budget. Eventually the residential market led us to larger projects, commercial at first and later more public work.

Q: When designing specific builds for the public realm (i.e. Javett: UP) what are your main considerations in designing the space to be inclusive?

Marco Cianfanelli’s artwork for the Rivonia Trial Station across from the Old Synagogue. His sculpture points to the Palace of Justice in Church Square where Nelson Mandela’s verdict was read, and in doing so connects the station to the history of the city and reveals historic events often forgotten.

The building industry has suffered tremendously under COVID-19 and wide-

Vaa lC am pu

Q: Do you remember your first project? Tell us a little about the growth from then to now.

of Pretoria was a great achievement and the new Administration Building for the NWU Vaal Campus is just one of the latest to be proud of.

NWU

We’re interested in this type of work because it serves a greater community and has the potential to influence and better the lives of South Africans in ways we do not even necessarily anticipate.

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INTERVIEW

“My mantra is that a brick in a poetic building costs exactly the same as a brick in a mundane building.”

Nellmapius bridge over the N1

spread corruption. I believe large practices are finding it more difficult than smaller firms which are slightly more agile as their overheads tend to be less. I believe the future of architectural practices lie in a freelancing model in which various contract workers form large units as and when needed, while sharing space and working individually on a day-to-day basis. The office environment has changed, but I still like to go to the office to have a morning coffee and chat. Creativity is fuelled by these sorts of interactions. Q: What are some of your major goals and what are you anticipating your focus being for the next five years?

ng

A major goal in our firm is to become even more divergent – with the type of work we take on, the industries in which we are involved as well as the collaborators we partner with. We seek opportunities to add value to the built and public environment, to increase public exposure and knowledge of architecture, and most importantly, not to compromise on design because of circumstances. We have also been branching out into architectural research under the umbrella of a practice-led PhD study. Q: What will be one of your next big projects that we should look out for?

Wonderboom intermodal interchange (currently under construction)

The Hand Bridge, the new gateway to South Africa from Zimbabwe, should be completed by the date of publication. The Wonderboom Intermodal is also expected by the end of next year, as well as our series of buildings at the NWU Vaal Campus. Apart from the large projects, we are also working on exciting small interventions such as the refurbishment and guard house of the Flemish Delegation of the Embassy of Belgium. We made good use of the lockdown period last year and are happy to announce the launch of a retrospective architecture book, entitled Musings, published by Protea Books. It will be available at all leading bookstores nationwide shortly, so keep an eye out for it.

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Location: Braamfontein, Johannesburg Size: 32,000m² Completed: April 2021 56 Jorissen is a state-of-the-art apartment complex for students who insist on the best. Designed to meet modern-day needs, 56 Jorissen’s stylishly furnished rooms, social and study facilities, and rooftop terrace with incredible views across the city, make it the most desirable student residence in Johannesburg. This exciting build was designed by LYT Architecture with landscape implementation by Life Green Group. The new 18-storey student residence, 56 Jorissen, is situated in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, directly opposite WITS University. This is the ideal locale for student accommodation. The building comprises of one basement, ground floor retail, 15 floors of student accommodation and a roof terrace with views across Johannesburg. 56 Jorissen is South Point Management Services’ first-greenfield development in Braamfontein and the first new build in Braamfontein in the last 30 years. Site context Four erven were consolidated and the site cleared. The corner erf held a three-storey building and the neighbouring erf a two-storey building, neither of which were of historical significance. The remaining erven were empty and used for parking. The new building fully occupies the consolidated site. The brief The brief to LYT Architecture was two-fold: to design a building that was efficient, low maintenance and hard-wearing, and to focus the design on optimising student living, placing emphasis on inspirational and safe spaces for live, work and play. 56 Jorissen houses 1195 students in a range of unit types that include single and double rooms in cluster-style units, single studios, double studios, one-bedroom units and onebedroom penthouses. Focus was placed on the design of the public spaces, such as the studies, entertainment areas, cluster unit kitchens and the 16th floor terrace. The intention here was to balance spaces for collaboration and socialising with those for privacy and studying. The shared kitchens in the clusters are generous, with a large central island that doubles up as a workstation, facilitating the

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PORTFOLIO

MEET THE TEAM: Client: South Point Management Services Main contractor: WBHO Construction Architects: LYT Architecture (Pty) Ltd Interiors: LYT Architecture (Pty) Ltd and HK Studio Quantity Surveyor: EthiQS Quantity Surveyors Structural and Civil engineers: ADA Consulting Engineers Electrical engineer: Quad Africa Consulting Mechanical engineer: Graeme Page Consulting Engineers Wet services consultant: Hidrocon Plumbing Consultants Fire engineer: Chimera Fire Protection Consultants Landscape contractor: Life Landscapes

diverse needs of students wherever possible and maximising the use of space. Street edge Braamfontein streets buzz with students. The ground floor facade is set back from the building line on all edges to widen the pavement and extend the public realm. A canopy protrudes over the pavement to further define the street edge and create a sheltered space for pedestrians and street life. The building edge is activated by retail spaces and the entrance to the student residence. Façades The building is essentially a large rectangular box. The design challenge lay in articulating the faces of ‘box’. The façade is divided into a series of 6x6m squares defined by movement joints every two floors horizontally and on every column grid vertically. The square module is then assigned a face brick bond to create a composition which works across the scale of the entire building. Three face brick bonds were selected, and each bond was assigned a wall thickness, window treatment and mortar joint detail. The

subtle changes in façade depth and window articulation are revealed alternately throughout the day as the shadows cast against the building shift. The placement of the studies, one-bedroom, single studio and double studio unit types were determined by the façade composition. The depth of these unit types is less than the typical cluster units, which allowed for the façade to be pulled back, creating punctures in the façade. In contrast to the solid facebrick mass, the articulation of the punctures is light. This was achieved through the use of glass shopfronts and steel balconies. Low maintenance and robust finishes were used throughout the building interior and exterior. The focus was on longevity rather than short term cost saving. Light wells Two internal light wells on either side of the circulation core span the height of the building, puncturing the mass internally and allowing for a feeling of openness in the passages. The building’s height is dramatically felt when looking up or down the light wells.

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16th floor terrace The site and height of the building make for an exceptional roof space. The 16th floor includes four penthouse units, entertainment areas, communal kitchens and a large outdoor terrace with a covered braai area. Two large planters, Bosun pavers and a timber slatted ceiling enhance the outdoor feeling. The terrace is generously furnished with tables and benches and becomes the lung of the building. The landscaping Life Green Group explains that the firm was approached by LYT Architects for two concrete planters to be built on the 16th floor of this student accommodation build. The landscaping for the residence was to be limited, including the planting of two planters and automatic irrigation. Before submitting their proposal, Life Green Group asked to view the site while still under construction and had to walk up 16 flights of scaffolding stairs to gain access and view these planters. They then made recommendations based on what they saw and suggested the following planting: • • • • • • •

Crassula 'Campfire' Chlorophytum Crassula ovata Portulacaria (spekboom) Bulbine Rock roses Aloes

The planting, mulch and drip irrigation recommended was due to the specific microclimate at that height, also considering the south and east side of the building where the planters are situated. The east side of the building would experience very cold weather and high winds, and in the summer, the climate would warm up, however, the reflected heat radiating from the hard surfaces would also have an impact on the planting. This meant that the planting would have to be hardy in order to withstand these intense climate changes, hence the choice of this specific planting palette. Life Green Group also used the BERA universal drainage and Green flocks, for soil retention and drainage onsite. This type of product is a must have for developers and clients wanting low weight, environmentally savvy spaces. The wooden planters for the light wells were chosen so that the slats or the parts could be brought in and then assembled once inside the

area, as the doors and gates were too small to get the planters through. These wooden planters were also created around the coffers that the trees grew in. The team were later asked to quote for additional planting after completing the 16th floor element of the project. This included: •

SUPPLIERS: Pavers: Bosun – 010 001 8398 SmartStone - 010 442 0377 Aveng Infraset - 011 876 5100 Bricks: Corobrik - 011 871 8600

Combretum trees (they wanted the same trees that were on the opposite side of the road) for the pavement alongside Jorissen street only, along with succulent planting.

Concrete copings: Modcon Precast - 011 786 2476

Indoor trees and pot plants for the two atriums: The ground floor reception and elevator lobby as well as the 1st floor. Indoor Trichilia trees for the atrium were chosen as they grow well in lower light.

Urbanscape and green flocks: BERA – 083 449 3954

Troughs and pots for 5th floor and 8th floor balconies that lead out from the student’s study rooms. Pots and more “coffin” planters for the 16th floor were also specified, as the 16th floor is the student level featuring study rooms, entertainment areas and the penthouse apartments, so more attention was given to this area.

The team chose charcoal grey pots and coffin planters to match the look and feel of the building.

Steel work: A&D General Services - 011 402 7580

Terrazzo pots: Notation Design – 079 772 9340 Wooden planter sealant: Rubio Monocoat – 011 466 0273 Nurseries: Tshala Plant Brokers – 071 683 1177 Plants and pots: Lifestyle Home Garden – 011 792 5616 Automatic drip irrigation product: Rain Bird Mulch: Culterra – 0861 285 837

Plants such as spekboom were planted, for their hardy and amazing benefits, as was Robellini, which does well in tropical climates and high strong winds. The Bougainvillea added colour and Xanadu added a different textured leaf – but all good hardy plants for the microclimate. While most trees and plants were sourced from Tshala plant brokers, the indoor trees were sourced from Life Green Groups own farm in Malelane. Q: How considerate does one have to be when creating a space for students? The planting had to be hardy, as the plants could take a beating from young students having parties. People tend to throw their cigarette butts and drinks into pot plants. Q: Did any problems arise onsite? •

We managed to install the planters before the COVID-19 lockdown, however, over prolandscaper.co.za

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PORTFOLIO

those four months, due to various issues with drainage and the incomplete water proofing, it was taken out and the planters were reinstalled three separate times. •

The client was also not satisfied with the sparse planting, so we provided them with two Aloe trees and a Nuxia floribunda tree to elevate the height of the planter.

There were issues with being able to provide a bespoke glazed pot from Lifestyle Home Garden, as the container that was to be delivered to them had been delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. We then had to propose different pots and they eventually chose these, for the 5th and 8th floor balconies.

We also worked with HK Studio Interior Designers for the Terrazzo pots near the penthouse apartments on the 16th floor, and these pots had delays due to the rains and the pots not being dry enough to be transported. Upon arrival, three pots were unfortunately broken.

This is, however, all in a day’s work, and the project overall has been a major sucess adding value to Braamfontein, the university and most importantly the students who are utilising the space exactly as intended.

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"Low maintenance and robust finishes were used throughout the building interior and exterior. The focus was on longevity rather than short term cost saving."


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THE BEGINNING OF UNIVERSITY SQUARE

PORTFOLIO

Location: Pretoria, Gauteng Size: 7,000m² Completed: March 2021 Phase 1 of 4

B

rooklyn House raises the bar for student living, conveniently located 350m away from the gates of the University of Pretoria. This new development offers stateof-the-art living while bringing in the comforts of home. The six-storey Brooklyn House project forms the first of four phases for a larger residential precinct, called University Square, spanning a full residential block opposite the University of Pretoria. University Square’s prime target market will be students, but will also offer the space to lecturers and young professionals. University Square’s precinct will cover the block from Lynwood road, on the Northern Edge to Brook street on the southern side. Besides its prime location, the precinct boasts a variety of offerings, which include: convenience retail and restaurants, a campus medical facility, gymnasiums, pools, a roof running track, roof cinemas and a world class study centre, all serving both the public and private sectors of the development. The urban design concept aims at creating various courtyards between the phases with each having its own themed identity. Brooklyn House forms the first phase of this development and creates offerings for 199 individuals. The original plan was for only 110 beds, but this was revised due to changes in the floor plate. This complex includes the Geek House restaurant, a convenience store, laundry facilities and a spectacular rooftop with various public amenities. The buildings tenancies span from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom clusters where students can live in commune type environments, sharing kitchens and communal lounges. Every single room is en-suite and every student has their own fridge, ensuring a certain level of ownership over communal areas. Parking is above-ground and access into both the parking lot and individual rooms is only allowed via the use of biometric fingerprint scanners and facial recognition. The architectural language Brooklyn House steps away from the usual bright and colourful builds catering for students. The architectural language is derived from a

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juxtaposition of both classical and contemporary timeless building elements, which is combined to form its own unique language and topology. The client placed big emphasis on classical international educational institutions like Harvard, which formed a starting precedent for architectural exploration. Architectural features like arches and a monotone colour palette – black face brick, crisp white plaster and paint facades with deep window reveals – complements this timeless aesthetic. The facades of detailed brickwork refer to this classical past, yet are also combined with clean, modular, geometric blocks that offset the reference to the past with the future promise. This project features both Corobrik’s Titanium Satin and Black Brick Satin face bricks. It’s all in the details This classical detailing has been combined with a modernist-inspired clean look. The team hoped this would correspond with the modernist architectural landmarks on the UP campus. Its international look for this build was a hope to create continuity between past, present and future, while creating a timeless build that reflects education itself. The use of an art-deco sign to name the building reiterates the classic character of the building.

MEET THE TEAM: Developer: Mile Investments Architects: Boogertman + Partners Landscape architects: Boogertman + Partners Interiors: Boogertman + Partners Structural & Civil Engineering: KLS Consulting Mechanical Engineering: Plantech Electrical Engineering: KLS Consulting Wet Services: CKR Quantity Surveyor: DelQS Fire Consultants: TDW International

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PORTFOLIO

Individual rooms have been positioned to maximise the views of the Pretoria skyline, while the wide corridors have been positioned to ensure lots of natural light and views. The rooftop courtyard allows for an open-air shared communal space for all to use.

SUPPLIERS:

A large public staircase further connects the podium public level with Lynnwood road, further fostering the building as a continuation of the urban landscape. This animates the façade and displays the life and activity of the building. The arches alongside the staircase are purely articulations of brickwork that mimic the buildings architecture above.

Pool: Bespoke Hydro Solutions

Pedestrian bridge A new pedestrian bridge link is also conceptualised as a future phase for the building, which ultimately connects the public podium level with TUKS directly. This will ensure students safety is looked after over the busy Lynnwood road and further the unique offering of Brooklyn House. Through the use of bridge, the restaurant and retail stores, the architects have created a space catering for shared communal spaces, similar to that of campus life.

Pavers: Bosun – 010 001 8398 Façade: Corobrik – 011 871 8600

Artificial turf: Belgotex – 033 897 7500 Outdoor eym Equipment: Ignatius – 083 653 1701 Rooftop decking: Evalast – 021 003 3126 Signage: Sebenza signage – 011 837 9332 Lighting design: Dual Lighting – 013 244 1538 Brands used: K.Light – 011 312 1247 PioLED – 010 020 5426 Spazio – 011 555 5555

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AKANYANG A Safe Space for Students


PORTFOLIO

University of Pretoria: Hatfield Campus Location: Pretoria, Gauteng Completed: June 2020 Size: 835m² At its heart, Akanyang is a social learning environment where students can gather to learn in new and interactive ways. Being on the Hatfield Campus of the University of Pretoria, Akanyang provides a safe space for students. The building emphasises the University's contemporary approach to education. Akanyang solves the need of the university’s growing demand for socially interactive learning environments by providing both educational and leisure spaces for the students. The facility is a southern extension to the existing Huis & Haard building. Nestled in a pedestrian corridor on campus, the proposed design intervention pushed into the pedestrian corridor, forcing an interaction with passing students and guiding them into the space. The external façade is made up of three architectural components. The concrete box, the roof-scape and the light tower (lift shaft). The concrete structure that hangs into the pedestrian walkway, acts as a signage board for social comment, but also forms a seating bench. The light tower serves as an identifier for the entrance. The roof-scape pushes down the sides of the building to create intrigue to the innerworkings, with controlled glimpses of life within. The operators and end-users of the facility is NAS (The Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences) along with CSA&G (Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender) that have a vision to “understand power, explore diversity,

SUPPLIERS: Bricks and paving: Corobrik – 011 871 8600 Vinyl flooring: Polyflor – 011 609 3500 Joinery: Make Furniture – 011 614 9900 Lighting: Spazio – 011 555 5555 K-Light – 021 552 4370 Paint: Dulux – 0860 330 111

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examine difference and imagine inclusivity”. These values were critical in the design thinking that was applied at Akanyang. Focus was placed on the inclusivity of the facility, ensuring that everything from the public access through to the toilet facilities was all inclusive and gender neutral. The brief and eventual building programme required students to be able to gather in a comfortable social environment to learn, rest, meet, discuss, work and even sleep. As such, we wanted students to explore the diversity of spaces offered and to have the freedom to adapt these spaces to their needs. Everything from the furniture, like the StoolTool by Vitra, through to the spatial planning was done in a manner that allowed students to mould the space to their needs. The gallery seating could be more private for breakaway

groups, or function as a lecture venue. The movable wall panels allow students to create pin-up spaces, or small cubicles, that fold away to make a larger space for group activities. A central part of the CSA&G is student counselling; the programme needed to serve not only the public access to the social learning facility, but also ensure student privacy of students visiting the CSA&G. As such, placement of windows to the pedestrian corridor was reduced, resulting in the roof-scape pushing up against the existing building to allow northern sun-exposure through a series of skylights. Additional requirements for the project included the upgrade and refurbishment of the CSA&G offices, the addition of a pedestrian lift, the addition of a retail space that housed a grocery/ takeaway store and the upgrade of the existing restroom facilities to ensure they are all

MEET THE TEAM: Client: University of Pretoria Architects: Two Five Five Architects Principal Contractor: Radon Projects Quantity Surveyor: Peregrine QS Structural Engineer: Struxit Projects Mechanical Engineer: Dihlase Consulting Lift Consultant: Equity Consulting Engineers Health & Safety: NCC Environmental Services Images: Natasha Dawjee Laurent www.papercutphotography.com

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inclusive. A building designed with the intention to allow its occupants to learn, socialise and take ownership of the space, thus aptly named Akanyang – a Tswana name meaning ‘thinking’. We ask lead architect, Andre Krige, how has this space had to adapt to COVID-19 regulations? At present the students have not yet returned to campus, so it is only being used by minimal visitors. In the interim they have put a COVID-19 plan into place. The flexibility of the space has allowed easy accommodation for social distancing, e.g. the occupancy of the lecture rooms has been reduced and some of the seating at the social areas has been reduced to limit the occupancy.

"Akanyang solves the need of the university’s growing demand for socially interactive learning environments"

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PORTFOLIO

Completed: November 2020 Location: University of Pretoria, Hillcrest, Gauteng Size: 6,800m² The University of Pretoria (UP) officially opened its state-of-the-art Engineering 4.0 facility in late 2020, which focuses its research on smart transport, cities and infrastructure. Situated on the Hillcrest Campus, Engineering 4.0 has its home in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT). It is an absolute first for Africa, and has been brought to fuition in collaboration with the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation – and York Timbers. The architecture of this pioneering project was realised by ARC Architects with landscape architecture by Insite Landscape Architects. ARC Architects explain that from the onset of this project, an Engineering, Built Environment and IT (EBIT) focused precinct needed to be created, supplemented by a learning facility and developmental, research and large-scale testing laboratory. User clients include EBIT (learning, office, reception, display, largescale laboratory spaces and infrastructure) SANRAL (training and reference laboratory) and CSIR (bitumen testing laboratory). Focus on biodiversity The Masterplan was developed to address accessibility from a local and limited national roads and potential rail connection. The environment needed to be respected in preserving the indigenous forest and grassland and enhancing biodiversity. Integrated with the functionality, is the facilitation of inter - departmental technological cooperation, exposure of students to biophilia, wellness and total immersion to open architecture and virtual interaction. Departing radically from a typical civil engineering surround and as the site boasts a mostly indigenous forest and significant Moot grassland, a plan to enhance the biodiversity was integrated. Foreign vegetation was eliminated and architecture was introduced to vacated areas, allowing the environment to flow into the building through perforated shade screens and full height glass facades.

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PORTFOLIO

Tilt-up doors are used to open to the atrium learning space, also enhanced with planters. ‘Board and chalk’ principles are moving toward a more interactive exposure learning – particularly in the practical built environment. Supporting this notion, all ceilings are open to expose all services, all floors are scoured down to expose aggregates and a sun ingress diagram has been introduced to witness sun patterns. The South African transport engineering industry currently faces numerous challenges like the shortage of civil engineers, limited training as well as no centralised reference testing facilities. Engineering 4.0 now offers students (vocational and tertiary), researchers and academics a world class facility enabling them to be on par with other first world training facilities. Virtual reality training kits have been developed to replicate the training facilities, for students to receive introductory courses remotely for more effective training once in the actual lab. The architecture consists of large-scale concrete tilt-up panels in combination with steel structure

and full height glazed façades to enhance the interaction with the natural environment and biophilia. The laboratory building construction involved the use of a tilt-up panel system together with in-situ columns and mainly steel roof structures. The advantages of the use of a tilt-up panel was the speed of construction. The use of concrete walls assists greatly with thermal insulation and creates a comfortable large internal working space. The foyer mainly consists of glass and steel construction and, where required, structurally in-situ concrete columns and masonry walls. Bringing the outside in Together with the constant visual connection of the external environment and as an extension of the biophilia concept, indoor planting has been provided throughout the building. The main staircase features a vertical planter element with extensive in-situ planting including trees and indoor vegetation. Potted plants are positioned in walkways and study/seating areas. The auditorium was designed, specified and implemented by following the critical criteria of reverberation as defined by the acoustic consultant. An open plan study area has additional suspended acoustic panels to limit noise

MEET THE TEAM: Client: University of Pretoria Architects: ARC architects Project Managers: MDSA Quantity Surveyor: Gro2 Consulting Civil Engineers: Aurecon Mechanical Engineers: Spoormaker & Partners Electrical Engineers: Conscius Consultants Contractors: WBHO Landscape Architects: Insite Landscape Architects (and interior planting design) Landscape Contractors: Bidvest Top Turf Restoration & Cultural/Industrial Heritage Advisor: HPA heritage consultants Acoustical consultants: Linspace Acoustics


disturbance, with alternative sound cubicles and private meeting rooms. Other features of Engineering 4.0 include: A concrete laboratory: This consists of preparation areas, curing and humidity rooms, and a test floor where various concrete and structural testing can be conducted for use in areas that include road construction and infrastructure. There is also a national roads reference laboratory. Accelerated Pavement Testing (APT) Track: The 100 x 6m APT track allows for the construction of different pavement structures and their accelerated evaluation, using a mobile APT device. This enables engineers to monitor the expected behaviour of a pavement over a fraction of its life. “For our smart cities research, we will be working with a team of academics including social and environmental scientists, economists, urban planners, architects and lawyers,” Profs Ma-

haraj and Steyn said. “We need to redesign and integrate living spaces to promote social cohesion. We need to restructure urban planning so that people can live closer to work, reduce travel expenses, take the pressure off roads and lead more affordable, environmentally conscious lives.” UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe said Engineering 4.0 will share its vast resources in technology and data sciences with all faculties via the institutions' platforms for developing inter- and trans-disciplinary research networks within the University and the global research community. “We thank our partners and value their contribution to this landmark collaboration,” he said. “Working together means we can achieve much more in solving Africa’s grand challenges.” The York Wood Engineering Laboratory aims to expand the footprint of mass timber construction, using advanced engineered wood products on the continent, in collaboration with civil and chemical engineering, architecture, ma-

terials science, data science, genetics and other related bio-economy disciplines. We look forward to witnessing the beforementioned professions flourish through this new node within the Hillcrest Campus. SUPPLIERS: Laser cut panels & steel features: Truestyle Hard Landscaping Solutions – 011 768 1305 Water Features: Hard Landscape Enterprises – 083 263 5656 Paving: Bosun – 010 001 8398 Custom seating benches and retaining walls: Gallo Precast – 012 546 6067 Interior planting: Execuflora – 011 025 9933

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UPGRADING DOORNFONTEIN DOORNFONTEIN CAMPUS: UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG 66

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PORTFOLIO

Total size: 4,630m² Student centre: 1,450m² Entertainment area: 1,250m² Library node: 1,450m² Completed: October 2020 Location: University of Johannesburg Cost: R5 million

T

he University of Johannesburg’s Doornfontein Campus is situated just south of the famous Ponte Tower and west of the Ellis Park sports stadium. A bustling Reya Vaya bus station is situated in Saratoga Avenue just north-west of the campus. Because of the increasing number of new students, the university is in the process of expanding its facilities and acquiring surrounding properties as needed and where possible. The landscape was designed by kwpCREATE Landscape Architects who aided the university in realising this node's potential. The brief The client required the UJ brand to be well represented throughout the campus, serving as a unifying element which would connect formerly disjointed spaces. The large number of students prompted the need for numerous outdoor spill-out and social spaces, especially since the existing conditions offered few options for outdoor lunch breaks and study areas. The campus called for the use of highquality finishes and a well-considered design that enriched student lives whilst respecting the budget constraints.

MEET THE TEAM: Client: University of Johannesburg (UJ) Landscape Architect: kwpCREATE Civil Engineer: MPA Consulting Engineers Electrical Engineer: CKR Consulting Engineers Main Contractor: Endemic Developments

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From a technical side, the stormwater system and associated infrastructure, soil levels and grading needed to be considered in the design. Initially, the site consisted of degraded flower beds and a number of damaged or underutilised structures and paved areas. Circulation and disabled access around the campus was of primary concern. How the brief was realised kwpCREATE was appointed as the landscape architect and principle agent for all six landscape architectural stages of the project. The unifying design language and celebration of the UJ brand was achieved through the introduction of a standard approach for all the street furniture, paving and planting. The limited outdoor gathering space, with haphazard seating formations, was transformed into a coherent and generous outdoor seating area, offering a number of niches for social interaction. These spots were also fitted with plug and USB outlets to allow students to work on their laptops and other smart devices. At the Student Centre, the large and attractive existing tree was accentuated through the installation of a surrounding deck, harnessing the ample shade. A particular challenge was incorporating the wheelchair ramp while preserving ambulance parking at the clinic. The existing unsightly container was moved and the steep lawn embankment was graded and restored to a more acceptable slope. The existing entertainment area could be viewed as dark and impersonal with mismatched furniture and minimal lighting, contributing to the under-utilisation of the space. Situated in close proximity to the student centre, the potential of this primary gathering area was unlocked and it now offers a space for

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lunchtime and weekend events. Steel canopies were designed in collaboration with the civil engineers in order to provide shade and create intimate spaces. The concrete tables were detailed with a recessed section offering the art students the opportunity to embed decorative mosaics. Twelve braai segments and a fire pit with seating were built to accommodate large gatherings. The large historical oak trees were protected, whilst the understorey plants were replaced with shade-loving species. The issue of circulation was addressed, especially at the library node, where limitations in the pedestrian movement such as a nonfunctional fence and undefined parking space were removed. Walkways were widened, and the pedestrian’s edge was defined with bollards, allowing for some additional and formalised parking spaces. A number of uniform posttop lights were designed and implemented to enhance the safety of the campus in the evenings. Low planter walls were built to provide sufficient seating and numerous shadegiving trees were planted. In all three primary areas that formed part of the intervention, diverse indigenous planting was used to replace the monoculture planting palette for variety, interest and ecological benefits. Sourcing materials and other relevant information The untidy combinations of paving, concrete and asphalt were replaced with uniform paving, edged with a complementing header course. The UJ brand title and colour scheme was integrated in the design, even in the planting palette. Custom designed street furniture was used to replace the juxtaposition of the existing amenities. A specification document including

materials, custom street furniture details and plant species was provided in order to maintain a long-term unified approach to the landscape design of the campus. SUPPLIERS: Paving: Bosun Group – 011 310 1176 Bricks: Corobrik – 011 871 8600 Lighting: BEKA Schréder – 011 238 0056 Benches, Litter Bins, Drinking Fountains, and Bollards: Wilson Stone – 011 616 7129 Decking: EVA-LAST – 010 593 9220

ABOUT kwpCREATE kwpCREATE is a full range creative studio. The studio combines young innovation with years of experience. F. A. Kemp Snr started the architectural practice in 1950 and the landscape studio started in 1986. The fourth generation of directors are at present actively involved in the practice. We are a private and independent regis­ tered company operating on a business basis to: design and document technically viable architectural, urban design, landscape architectural and interior projects. We strive for excellence in a credible manner for people to be proud of what has been accomplished.


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WORLD FIRST DEPOT BOIJMANS VAN BEUNINGEN: FIRST PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE ART DEPOT IN THE WORLD

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PORTFOLIO

Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands Size: 15,000m²

D

epot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the first publicly accessible art depot in the world designed by MVRDV, has recently completed construction. Located in Rotterdam’s Museumpark, the depot features a new type of experience for museum visitors: a sturdy engine room where the complete collection of 151,000 objects is made accessible to the public. In addition to the various storage and care areas, the depot has a restaurant and an award-winning rooftop forest at a height of 35 metres. The construction completion paves the way for interior furnishings and the long process of moving the museum’s complete collection into the new storage facility. A 39.5-metre-high building ‘in the round’, the depot’s bowl-like form has a relatively small footprint. This form ensures that at the ground level, existing views into and routes through the Museumpark remain unimpeded and reduces the impact on underground water buffers, while an expansive rooftop public space with a restaurant provides access to inspiring views of Rotterdam. Comprising 6,609m² of glass subdivided into 1,664 mirrored panels, its reflective facade wears the trappings of whatever surrounds it: people passing by, Museumpark’s leafy grounds, the clouds, and Rotterdam’s dynamic city skyline. Thanks to this reflection, the building is already fully integrated into its surroundings, despite its not insignificant size of 15,000 m². It enlivens its surroundings while establishing strong relationships with the park and the neighbouring buildings. In the depot, artefacts will be stored and exhibited according to their climatic requirements, as opposed to movement or era. Each storage space is climate controlled and organized into five different climate zones, arranged according to works of art produced with different materials: metal, plastic, organic/ inorganic, and photography. The building’s eyecatcher is the atrium with crisscrossing staircases and suspended glass display cases showing exhibitions of works selected by museum curators. This atrium will lead visitors to exhibition rooms and curators’ studios, offering them a unique behind-thescenes experience and the chance to learn how a world-renowned museum maintains and cares

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for its art collection. Art is displayed throughout the building, beginning in the ground floor lobby and continuing along the entire route through the building, extending even to the rooftop restaurant. Outside this restaurant, a rooftop forest at a height of 35 metres will provide another public attraction, accessible via an express elevator from the ground floor, and populated by 75 multi-stemmed birch trees standing several metres tall. The rooftop offers visitors breathtaking vistas across Rotterdam. Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV: “With this construction completion, now the museum and the users can start to inhabit the building and fill its spaces with priceless art. Although it will take another year before the real opening, the completion is a special moment for all: the museum, the city of Rotterdam, Stichting De Verre Bergen and of course for the contractor BAM, the many construction workers and subcontractors who persisted during the difficult circumstances we all faced due to the pandemic. The depot design is daring, and its success comes from the direct dialogue with all parties involved – from the person calculating the exact curvature of the mirroring panels and the construction worker who put up the glass vitrines to the company that co-designed our rooftop forest.” Sjarel Ex and Ina Klaassen, directors Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen: “This is a working building in which the most important consideration is what the building can do: to look after our collection while still being open to the public. Next year the entire collection of Boijmans Van Beuningen will once again be visible on one spot for the first time since 1935. We are convinced that making the collection

accessible shows how much we care and how well we take care of it. This is something that the inhabitants of Rotterdam will be proud of; something that they want to see with their own eyes, because they partly own this enormous artistic treasure.” The rooftop planting of 75 birch trees After construction, and over a two-week period, 75 large birches were hoisted 35 metres in the air using a special crane and planted on the roof of Rotterdam’s Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen by project contractor BAM Bouw en Techniek. Here, the trees will become part of a green rooftop forest with a restaurant and spectacular views over the city. The forest was designed together with MTD landschapsarchitecten from Den Bosch. The chosen tree is the Betula pubescens, a soft birch that grows to a maximum height of 10 metres and is highly resistant to the weather conditions on the roof. The trees are between ten and fifteen years old and over the past three years the Ebben tree nursery has prepared them for their new location. A special watering system ensures that the soil in which they are being planted will never dry out. Aftercare is provided by a specialised arborist who regularly monitors the trees for vitality, health, and moisture. How long the tree continues to live depends on various factors such as weather influences but it is expected that the vast majority of these strong pioneer trees – which need little to survive – will remain standing for several decades. “When Yves Brunier designed the Museumpark with OMA, I helped with the selection of the

old trees”, says MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas. “Now that the birches are being placed on the roof of the depot, the circle is complete; we are taking the park we removed to the top of the depot and enlarging it. Soon, people will be able to take the express lift up, free of charge, and enjoy a spectacular view of the city at a height of 34 metres.” The Municipality of Rotterdam will soon start work on the greening of the area in the north of the Museumpark, both within the park and immediately outside its boundaries. The area will have natural stone paving with lots of planting areas and trees. In addition, the ponds and event deck outside Het Nieuwe Instituut will be redesigned. MEET THE TEAM: Architect: MVRDV Principal in charge: Winy Maas Partner: Fokke Moerel Project team: Sanne van der Burgh, Arjen Ketting, Gerard Heerink, Jason Slabbynck, Rico van de Gevel, Marjolein Marijnissen, Remco de Haan Competition team: Sanne van der Burgh, Marta Pozo, Gerard Heerink, Elien Deceuninck, Saimon Gomez Idiakez, Jose Ignacio Velasco Martin, Jason Slabbynck, Mariya Gyaurova, Lukasz Brzozowski Strategy & Development: Jan Knikker, Irene Start Visualisation: Antonio Luca Coco, Matteo Artico, Carlo Cattó Copyright: MVRDV 2018 – (Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries) Contractor: BAM Structure: IMd Raadgevend Ingenieurs Cost engineering: BBN Installations: RHDHV Facade consultants: ABT Building physics: Peutz Sustainability: BREEAM Excellent (goal) Images: © MVRDV, © Ossip van Duivenbode

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F E AT U R E

CE LE BR AT IN G 20

PROFILED COMPANY: AutoX – Rentech Pro Landscaper + Architect were excited to sit down with Rentech, a division of AutoX, to discuss their solar solutions and how they can help you on your next green energy project. Q: Where does Rentech originate from? And how has the company grown in the past 20 years? The Rentech brand was established in 2001 as a dedicated provider of renewable energy products and services. Focused on supplying local and selected African markets, our product range includes inverters, lithium batteries, lead-acid batteries, and PV panels of the highest quality. We provide expert advice to assist customers in choosing the best product solutions, appropriate for specific applications and requirements.

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Rentech Renewable Technologies is part of the AutoX family, standing alongside renowned battery brands, Willard Batteries and SABAT Batteries. Q: What range of your products is best suited to the professional architect/developer or installer? Every system or requirement is unique in some way, so we do an analysis first to understand the client’s needs and find the perfect fit. We have a large range of products to cater for all requirements. Q: Do you supply and install or work with contractors on various projects? We do both, we can do installations ourselves and we have a number of installers we have

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partnered with so we make the process incredibly seamless for developers and professionals alike.

small businesses, office complexes, banks, hospitals, data storage and warehousing as well as the leisure industry.

Q: What are the types of projects that you tend to be commissioned for?

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Various residential and small commercial and retail projects are among the sectors we tend to see a lot of growth with.

Being part of the AutoX family, Rentech proudly contributes to Caring Daisies, Good Morning Angels, the AutoX Bursary Fund, Reach for a Dream and other CSI projects, such as the electrification of a community school in the Mooinooi area.

Q: Who are key industry players you are wanting to work with in future and why? As the national energy provider continues to struggle to meet electricity demands, due to various reasons, Rentech offers an answer to the country’s energy crisis. Backed by years of experience as a division of battery provider, AutoX, Rentech understands the market requirements for electrical energy and comprehends the demands for service provision in the renewable energy space, not only to diminish dependence on the national electrical grid, but to promote the use of clean energy solutions. We see ourselves as a partner to all architects, developers, electrical engineers, property owners, and property and facility managers to assist them overcoming the rising cost and their dependency on the national supplier. These sectors include households,

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other parts of the world. Q: What’s next for Rentech? With a focus on providing solutions to alleviate the current energy crisis and to solve intermittent power generation problems specific to the region, Rentech offers alternative energy products as well as battery and back-up power to various market sectors including households, small businesses, offices complexes, banks, hospitals, data storage and warehousing as well as the leisure industry.

Q: With the movement towards sustainability, have you noticed the architectural market embracing the “off-grid” approach? Most definitely, the current demand for reliable energy and especially 'green energy' is very high and we are very fortunate to be in that space while our national energy supplier is having difficulties in managing the rapidly growing demand with their current infrastructure. Q: What are some of your best-selling packages/products and why? The most popular is the 5kW hybrid inverter system with our lithium battery option. Because they are flexible in that you can use this as a starting point to cater for all your essential/priority loads and increase and grow the system to then deal with the rest of the loads, as well as having the option to run the loads directly from PV. Q: How do your products take consumers/tenants “off the grid”? Although the products we offer can make consumers completely grid independent we generally don’t advise them to be “off grid” entirely. If the infrastructure is already in place, we can minimise the dependency of the grid, and once Eskom agrees to buy back “green energy”, the surplus generated by the consumers can then be used as an income. This type of purchase agreement is implemented successfully in

+27 11 776 4300 info@rentech.co.za | www.rentech.co.za

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Landscaping Irrigation Maintenance