The potential of the Apies River Corridor, and the identified site s relegation to the engineering demands of modernisation, has resulted in layers of water, built fabric, transport and energy infrastructure that presently dissect the site into rigidly controlled, isolated functions. This has consequently led to the loss of the Apies River s recreational and natural presence within the city. Its ecological potential as resource, as well as its enigmatic and symbolic existence, has been straightjacketed into a linear concrete entity. Its historical significance in the establishment and development of the city, as well as its significance as recreational identity, has been rendered anonymous. Fragmented enclaves (deadlock urban situations) have restricted the potential of underutilised, surplus public spaces.
The theoretical premise of this dissertation asserts that the great divide between nature and culture of the modern paradigm, and the consequential development of industrialisation and urbanisation, controlled our cities' natural resources in independent networks of infrastructural systems, to the control, convenience and exploitation of our cultural practices. Implemented as vehicles for political, social and economic agendas, the current isolated implementation of our urban infrastructure are spatially fragmenting the public realm.
The site chosen for the project has been identified as a collection of fragmented surplus sites adrift between the infrastructural edges of the historic Ceremonial Boulevard know as Stanza Bopape Street (formerly Church Street), and the Apies River Corridor; two significant infrastructural entities in the city of Pretoria.
A reinterpretation of our development processes is required, that acknowledges non-human natural systems as agents and acknowledges the constraints of our cultural practices.1 By reimagining existing infrastructure as part of the production of form and space, marginalised urban voids can be regained for innovative design interventions, alternative occupation, and public appropriation. The potential of such a reinvention lies in public space that capitalises on the spatial, material and socio-economic possibilities of infrastructure to increase the area's ecological contribution, and amplify its historical significance through establishing a relationship between Stan Street, the Apies River, the proposed interventions and historical remnants, towards reinstating an enigmatic and recreational experience as well as ecological awareness beyond its infrastructural use.
Mini Dissertation (MArch(Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2015.