Posts Tagged ‘ Botswana Innovation Hub ’

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.

November 2013

Brian McKechnie mentioned our FNB project in a recent TED talk that he gave on how Joburg is like Kate Moss. And Anton posted three interesting photos : a screen-shot of a molecular structure, me and Elize and some stainless steel rings, and a mystery pair of legs with some bits of the structure on a lovely old carpet. It seems like it was all part of some kind of teaser campaign (he didn’t tag the legs) and one person’s interest was piqued. Hopefully this project will make a supermodel of the building it’s intended for, too.

I posted a link to an Archdaily report on the Sagrada Familia because two people told me how wonderful it is looking, one of them being Lewis Levin, whose carpet it is. James and Annamari both posted pics of Santa’s Shoebox project presents in the office, and I posted a link to an article on how edible insects are going to transform our diets. I’m not sure why I posted this, really, but if it’s true I suppose we should know about it. The photo did look tasty. The packaging has a clean look to it and there are no legs or feelers in sight. Yuchh, sorry.

Then we got excited about railway yards being transformed into parks. The idea of decking over the shunting yards in Joburg pops up its head periodically, so hopefully it will happen eventually. But going ahead is a new central park for Valencia, Spain designed by Gustafson Porter in collaboration with Borgos Pieper.  And the Park am Gleisdreieck in Berlin was completed in 2011.

Anton posted an article that looks at the additional role of mitigating climate risk that landscape architects should start to play and an interesting project on a Hong Kong public stairway called the Cascade Project.

In terms of our own work, there were several new images of our Two Rivers project in Kenya and some of the southern amenity garden at the Botswana Innovation Hub.

Molecular supermodel

Model of a shade structure

’til next time.

December 2012

So, what happened in 2012? The design for the landscape at Cecilia Makiwane hospital near East London has metamorphised, the works at Natalspruit hospital have started, those at Zola hospital in Soweto are nearly complete and a clinic in Phalaborwa was completed . The landscape of the next phase of the project at the Houghton golf course has been lovingly detailed and construction is well under way. Work on the memorial projects in Boipatong and for June 16th in Soweto has delayed, but progresses. Also delayed was the Botswana Innovation Hub project in Gabarone, but that too has come back to life. In terms of new projects, some head office refurbishments have come our way, as have exciting projects for UNISA and the University of Pretoria. New projects in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya have kept Anton on the run. He has recently posted some of the graphic work for those projects. There is also a link to photographer Johann Ryno de Wet’s website and six striking images from his last three exhibitions. And the last post is for a …. mmm, difficult to say – a pillow/eyemask thing. Goodnight. Thank-you to our clients and friends, we wish you everything good during the break and we’ll see you in 2013.

GREENinc and families went up the new Hartbeespoort cableway on Saturday

GREENinc and families went up the new Hartbeespoort cableway on Saturday

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