Posts Tagged ‘ bank city ’

December 2013


The rooftop garden at the Agrivaal building

So November is over and so, pretty much, is 2013.

The installation at Bank City for FNB was one of the most exciting things we did this year, and it’s still getting posts. It also featured on the cover of the November issue of Real Estate magazine.

Staying urban, early last month I attended the Transformative Urban Regeneration Conference, which was hosted by the African Centre for Cities and the City of Ekurhuleni. There were some really engaging international speakers (three of whom are South American, one Dutch and one Indian) complemented by equally fascinating local ones. When talking to them privately, all of the foreign speakers were most struck by our boundary walls here in Jozi – even more so than the weather! Obviously, this is partly a response to the crime levels we experience here, but it seems that they are also symbolic of our society’s predilection for private space over public. And it’s not only in the previously-privileged suburbs, either, the walls are ubiquitous in the more sociable “townships”, too. There is one going up in front of the building accross the road from our office as I write this, to replace the wall that was taken down by the previous owners some years ago. Luckily, we don’t have a wall in front of our office, so traffic could be diverted through our driveway when a brick truck for said building site blocked off Sixth Street last week. Andrew sent me an abstract on a conference on European squares held a decade ago, and it drove home the fact that an outdoor public place has formed the heart of every European town for hundreds – if not thousands – of years. We might not have that kind of heritage, but surely we still need places we can come out from behind our walls to socialize in public in, and we don’t have enough of them. We should break down as many of the walls that we can, too, like the Goethe Institute here in Joburg did a while ago. Anyway, I’ve digressed, but it was a fantastic conference and I think I will try to tell you more about it in a special newsletter.

The Botswana Innovation Hub was another of our big projects this year, and our friends from SHoP Architects came to visit us here in Joburg. We posted some new renderings of the Innovation Hub, as well as a presentation on the “cycle of mediocrity” by Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP. We also posted an article on how great it is here in Jozi ahead of their visit, just so they wouldn’t wish they were rather visiting Cape Town.

We also posted new renderings of the Agrivaal building – one of them appears at the top of this article. Here’s the other one. And someone posted a video of the Wind Portal by Ned Kahn at the San Francisco Airport – look at his other work, too. Finally, we posted an article on boxes in museum design and asked our friends to share their favourite box project. We got two suggestions : the Flederhaus in Vienna and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in Cape Town. We added the Olivetti store by Carlo Scarpa in the Piazza San Marco in Venice.

We are here for another two weeks, but as this is the last scheduled newsletter for 2013, I will use it to say thank-you for your support in 2013, have a great year-end break (I hope you’re taking one!) and all the best for 2014.

’til next time.

October 2013

On 19 September, James went back to Bank City to see the event that all the work was in preparation for – FNB’s 175th birthday celebrations. He posted some photos of the space properly occupied! A client representative said to him that it wouldn’t be a good day to take photos because there’d be too many people to see the landscape properly, but we love photos of our spaces being used to their full potential.

Elize posted a video of the stompstone song, I think she may be considering specifying some of the chime tiles featured. On the other hand, looking at her comment, maybe not! Still, they are an interesting landscape element and look like they take some skill to play. But yes, the practice sessions must be hell! Also on a musical note, James posted a link to an article on an inflatable concert hall. It looks like it works on the same principles as a jumping castle, but one that you can actually go inside. Elize also posted some pics of a tyre park in Tokyo. It has tyre swings of course, but there’s much more, all made from tyres. The sculptures are especially cool! And Annamari posted a curvy, boxy, forward-thinking retro house in Hollywood Hills with a LEED silver rating.

Aerial Installation at Bank City - photograph by Barry Goldman

Aerial Installation at Bank City – photograph by Barry Goldman

’til next time.

September 2013

A week ago on Saturday, GREENinc was awarded its 8th (I was battling to spell eightth there, so went for the shorter version) ILASA Award of Excellence for its role on Freedom Park’s second phase. James was in charge of the excellent awards function at the Rand Club. Did you know, they let women in now? Welcome back, James, time for some landscape architecture. He didn’t have anything to do with the judging, he says.

The canopies and outdoor lounges at Bank City that I wrote about last month are complete. If only all our projects happened so quickly! Lots of in-progress photos went up on the facebook site in the last month. One of the photos has been seen by 1,774 people to date, our record for a post so far. Click here to see it. Also see the video clip of one of the canopies dancing in the wind. They give a really festive welcome into the CBD from the north. Congrats to Anton and the whole team!

Also have a look at the pool areas of the apartments being built on the Houghton golf course. Andrew has dedicated a significant chunk of his life to these spaces, and it shows in the detailing. There is also a link to the website of Candy Chang, who is “an artist who is passionate about the ways our public spaces can help us make sense of our communities and ourselves.” And James shared an article about putting a green roof on a bus. Why not?

’til next time.


The crocodile water feature at the Sentlhaga, Freedom Park

August 2013

Well, if you’ve visited our facebook page in the last month, you might have noticed that we’re quite excited about an installation we’re working on for Bank City in the Johannesburg CBD. It’s to celebrate FNB’s spring festival, and James and Anton are busily preparing for spring, as you can see from all the photos. In fact, you will note that there are no other posts by these normally prolific posters, so busy are they.  I complained to James about this lack of other things to write about, and he undertook to post some interesting stuff, but – nothing. So maybe this will be a short newsletter. But this spring promises to be more exciting in the Joburg CBD, with a couple of other events planned for the end of this month and in September. These are the Joburg City Festival and the Arts Alive festival – joint the countdown on the Arts Alive’s facebook page.

I posted something about a set of plantable stamps issued to celebrate 50 years of Singapore’s green movement. I’ve seen business cards that can be made to sprout before (a landscape architect’s, of course), but I liked the fact that you could send these and if your letter wasn’t delivered, at least it would might grow along the Braamfontein Spruit. Of course, in Singapore, it would be delivered, in the same way as all the amazing green infrastructure in the last 50 years. Like the Gardens by the Bay.

I also posted a link to an article about a brick system that allows niches for house sparrows to nest in walls. Isn’t that great? At last, built acknowledgement that we share the planet with other animal species! I was more aware of birds’ nests because a week ago I got around to putting up a nesting log that had been knocking around my house for years, and a Crested Barbet has already started modifying it, hopefully with a view to moving in. I just hope it doesn’t drill through the bottom, as they are wont to. And Anton has been chastizing the Masked Weaver trying to nest over our deck here at the office about the mess he is making.

’til next time.

Leonotis at Freedom Park

Leonotis at Freedom Park

%d bloggers like this: