Between the serene natural landscape of the Magaliesberg and the bustling chaos of the Mamelodi West Township lies an understated threshold that links these two contrasting environments. The heritage of the landscape tells of recovery and appreciation, as this once-broken landscape is now regarded as a small environmental haven. This threshold is defined by the intangible quality of the in-between space – that of communal energy. Therefore, the need to create space in this non-place is identified as this can capture its energy and define the threshold, which is the chosen site for this study. The intention is for the architectural intervention to become a transitional device; allowing the user passage from the urban- to the natural landscape. The project focuses on defining and creating ‘place’ in the ‘in-between’ space of the threshold that connects the urban and natural environment. The project utilises an abandoned water reservoir, which is within the threshold located at the foot of the Magaliesberg. The intervention envisions the re-purpose of this infrastructure to house an essential oils distillation facility. The threshold links to a landscape called Mothong, where medicinal plants and herbs are cultivated. In response to this existing conservation and environmental initiatives, the opportunity for socio-economic development was identified through the creation of a distillation facility that allows for public interaction with the processes. The theoretical grounding for this project considers the concept of liminality of rites of passage as discussed though the work of Arnold van Gennep (1960) and Victor Witter Turner (1979). The Oxford English Dictionary defi nes liminality as being “of or pertaining to the threshold or initial stage of a process” (Oxford Dictionaries English, 2018). Tracing its etymology, liminality has the Latin origin “limen” - translating as “threshold” - which is an inherently architectural element. The concept of liminality is introduced by an anthropology approach, which describes its three phases as separation, margin and aggregation. This guided the architectural interpretation of theory in this project.
Mini Dissertation (MArch(Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2018.