This dissertation explores the relationship between man, animal and architecture within the theoretical discourse of the liminal. This exploration comes to pass within the context of humanity’s on-going captivation with animals and the manifestation of this in typological architecture as Zoological Gardens. The National Zoological Gardens of Pretoria situated in within the Central Business District forms the proposed context of this dissertation. Potential manners in which the relationship between man and animal manifest as spatial construct or architecture are investigated, within the context of the Zoological Gardens. The strict boundary conditions that exist within this context are consequently criticised. The existing concrete palisade fence epitomises these strict boundaries; between man and animal, city and Zoological garden and observer and observed. The intervention considers the liminal space which is created due to these boundaries, and the possibilities of this liminal space, or third space, as a habitable threshold. The threshold is programmed as an urban intervention that addresses the boundary condition by facilitating public open space, public amenities, Zoo interface and a Gratis Observatory Route. The dissertation challenges conventional architectural typologies and proposes an intervention, a “third nature” that occupies this liminal space. The new condition attempts to blur the rigid boundaries between the existing conditions of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the Zoo. The intervention takes on the program of functioning as a public dwelling for man, in the form of public open space, while simultaneously offering an urban habitat for animals. The proposed intervention manifests as a typological architecture that creates thresholds over which to renegotiate the relation between man and his understanding of “Nature”.
Dissertation MArch(Prof)--University of Pretoria, 2013.