Pretoria has a complex history; a contested social legacy and a rich physical context. It was severely modernised in the 1960s, destroying and discarding many of these narratives. The consequences of those decisions left us with a city devoid of a healthy street life; a city lacking comfortable public spaces; a city for buildings, not a city for people. The city belongs to however has power, whether political or financial. It does not belong to the dweller. The city became a means to exert power. As hegemonies change its pendulum effect can be seen in the city.
Building projects are used to strengthen the ideologies of each regime. It this battle of who owns the city the rich narrative of Pretoria is lost. This project interrogates the site physically, historically and socially to get to the essence of what makes this place unique; to get to the basic elements that make it A place and not just ANY place. It also looks at theoretical approaches and precedents that give evidence of similar urban challenges and their appropriate responses. The essential site conditions are clearly demarcated and became the design drivers.
Th e design drivers are: Th e site in its physical and historical context; the existing programmes; as well as systems needed for a sustainable intervention. Through a process of analysis and design the concept originated from the meeting of two conditions on site. The one condition is the built fabric and the other condition is the urban forest. The meeting of the two become the threshold not only between the two conditions but also between the inside and the outside of the new public square. The structure acts as a stoep into the city, a structure that is both a wall and an entrance.
This concept is taken through to the detail level. It aims to not only connect the urban and the built conditions but also the myriad of loosely scattered programmes in the vicinity. It intends to bring them together through the augmentation of the existing programmes into an identifiable, cohesive public space.
Mini Dissertation (MArch(Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2015.