Many past events go unmarked and unremembered, and eventually lose their significance. One such area is the Wonderboom fort, tree and the Nature Reserve. The research investigates how the landscape design can strengthen the existing spirit of place. The place’s identity - that of a refuge – is intangible and unconscious, but can be made tangible through a narrative that engaged with the cultural and biophysical history of the site (the tangible world) by means of didactics and semiotics. This will provide a learning experience with added meaning that gives added identity of place. Furthermore, specific design principles are investigated namely: better access, heightened awareness, and heightened interest created through complexity and coherence in design. Complexity and coherence will generate interest in the user to engage with the physical/conscious experience, engaging and learning about the physical aspects of the site’s nature and culture. The unconscious experience will be guided through semiotics – the use of symbols that give meaning and add identity to place and user. The design intervention will be a landscape which tells the story of the place and unveils the heritage and history of the site in such a way that visitors will have an engaging and informative experience of the past events. The site can be the northern link and gateway into the city of Pretoria, a destination for local and international tourism, and a green corridor for people to experience the city in a different way. The design approach ties in with the Burra Charter approach, namely “changing as much as necessary but as little as possible” but also with the Ename charter stating that Heritage sites should be presented to the public and the public should be educated to ensure their protection. Hampton Adams rightfully says that: 'Only by looking at the past, can we plan the future.'
Dissertation (ML(Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2012.