Friday, January 8, 2010

Abandoned spaces, abandoned design - Part 5

Abandoned spaces, abandoned design - Part 4

Abandoned spaces, abandoned design - Part 3

Abandoned spaces, abandoned design - Part 2

Abandoned spaces, abandoned design - Part 1

Masters in Architecture (Professional) dissertation

This dissertation investigates the significant problem of abandoned buildings in the Pretoria Central Business District and, to a lesser extent, the lack of public exposure to art, architecture and design. For the purpose of this study, empty spaces in the City Centre and Die Meent buildings are examined. A new system for their reuse is developed and a gallery for the exhibition of multiple art forms is incorporated therein, as an example of how the aforementioned system can be appropriated. These problems, especially the first, is not restricted to the local urban context.

The investigation is thus divided into two phases: the first provides a solution to the challenge of reusing abandoned spaces in buildings; the second phase, as a proposed future exploration of this system, provides a solution to the need for a multi-purpose exhibition area. City Property is the proposed client for the first phase, while MINI Space is the proposed client for the second phase.

Empty buildings are a growing concern worldwide, due to concerns for sustainable development and decreasing greenfield sites. This dissertation proposes that the term ‘site’ should be redefined, using the x-y-z axes as a base. By applying the theory of Deconstruction, it is argued that ‘ground zero’ be shifted to a higher level, to include not only the x- and y-axis, but also the z-axis, leading to the creation of truly three-dimensional cities.

Vacant floors within the buildings under investigation are stripped down to the structural elements and some service cores. These concrete planes are then divided into new ‘sites’, which can be rented or, preferably, sold to new owners. Green open space replaces some of the top floors, and slabs are selectively cut open to allow for access to sunlight and to create spatial definition. Principles are set up according to which this and further development should be done, including factors like functional zoning and new ‘site’ restrictions.

The objective of the MINI Space Gallery is to promote art, architecture and any other form of art or design to the public. A MINI store and a coffee shop are included as ancillary spaces, promoting a mix of uses within the gallery space.

A parti-diagram is developed for each of the two phases of the dissertation. These diagrams are based on elements of architecture derived from Deconstruction and the use of x-y-z. Each element or axis (form/beauty; function/programme; tectonics/structure) is examined separately, after which they are combined to create space. All aspects of the project, from large scale design to small scale technical details, are solved by means of applying these parti-diagrams.

This project aims to advance a new way of looking at the city and promoting different forms of art. Culturally rich spaces within vibrant cities with multiple levels of living, working and playing, aid the creation of new communities and unique spaces for each individual.


South Africa
Conexo is a new way of creating shelter, for whatever reason. It is a lightweight concrete exoskeleton product range, consisting of 45 available components that can be fastened together to form a single carport, a medium sized space for an event, or anything in between. It consists of straight and foldable panels, the latter's angles being determined by the type of steel connectors used. These panels are bolted together with steel components strengthening the joints.

Furniture Factory - Part 3

Furniture Factory - Part 2

Furniture Factory - Part 1

The future of this farm, which is part of a successful land-claim, is investigated and a group framework set up. Within this framework, which proposes a 
development at a future time, a furniture factory is designed. This factory is made of steel trusses, salvaged from the neighbouring mine's buildings after 
it closes down, and bamboo, which will be grown on site. Bamboo also serves as the material used for the furniture. Waste is transferred to the disused 
mine tunnels, where a mushroom farm will be established. The design of the factory is based on the principle of questioning architecture. Typical 
elements, e.g. trusses and functional layouts, are rethought and used in new ways - a roof truss becomes a column; offices are located within the storage 
area. A bold monument to architecture is created.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Spa - Part 3

Spa - Part 2

Spa - Part 1

In the historical town of Botshabelo a place of relaxation is created. This intervention is placed alongside the natural river, using its water as the source of the exterior and interior pools. These pools have a natural filtration and cleaning system, made possible by using the correct vegetation and flow of water. The main building envelops two of these pools with a simple, modernist box slot into the sloping landscape. Further up treatment 'pods' are placed, built of natural stone found on site, with each providing a private space for revitalisation. This project was done together with Liezl-Mari Nienaber, who designed the landscape for the spa.

UP Main Campus UDF - Part 4

UP Main Campus UDF - Part 3

UP Main Campus UDF - Part 2

UP Main Campus UDF - Part 1

The University of Pretoria's main campus was investigated as part of a group project. All characteristics were identified by means of extensive walkthroughs of the site, photographic and videographic documentation, the study of maps and many other further analyses. These were compiled into a booklet and also a 15 meter long hand drawn sketch of the site. A new proposal for the enhancement and expansion of this campus were then set forth.

Group members:
Steven Crawford
Philip du Toit
Morné Louw
Carina Maree
Liezl-Mari Nienaber
Hannes van der Merwe
Ruann van der Westhuizen

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South Africa
Architect, musician, artist, designer