World Landscape Architecture - landscape architecture webzine » Africa Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:39:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 VPUU Harare Khyalitsha | Cape Town South Africa | Tarna Klitzner Landscape Architects Thu, 20 Mar 2014 13:11:20 +0000 ]]>  VPUU-Harare-Khyalitsha-TKLA-1  

The VPUU (Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading)  an urban renewal project of a  network of play courts , school play grounds, commercial squares and pedestrian linkages, in Harare Khyalitsha. Developed as a response to the communities expressed desire for safer streets and routes to and from, schools, the CBD and Public transport.


Our brief was to design a landscape language for the entire route with an emphasis on the major squares as our first projects and the Walkways/links as the final uniting element. In retrospect the lessons learnt from working on a project that spanned over 5 years from inception have been invaluable. The materials and design resolutions proved to be adaptable to the varying conditions without  losing their integrity  and therefor still ensure that the entire system reads as one intervention, without becoming repetitive and monotonous.


The most exciting part of the project for us is that the design facilitates community involvement as is evident in the art works, tree cages and stone work, it certainly feels like the walkways and squares belong to the community, as they are constantly occupied and well maintained.

We as landscape architects, feel this project is valuable as it demonstrates how design can improve the quality of a communities living environment with quite simple interventions. However it also demonstrates how as a designer it is certainly more constructive to work within an interdisciplinary team inclusive of  the end users,  were ideas are collaboratively assessed and developed  giving them a richness and durability.

VPUU Harare Khyalitsha |Cape Town South Africa | Tarna Klitzner Landscape Architects (TKLA)

Project Team:

Project Managers: SUN Development/ AHT Group AG; VPUU

Urban Designers/Planners: SUN Development; Macroplan

Architects: Jonker and Barnes  with Jackie James; Charlotte Chamberlain and Nicola Irving Architects CCNIA

Engineers: Naylor Naylor van Schalkwyk

Quantity Surveyor: Talani

Landscape Architects: Tarna Klitzner Landscape Architects (TKLA)

Community Participation: City of Cape Town/VPUU; Khayelitsha Development Forum

Operation and Maintenance:  SUN Development; VPUU/City of Cape Town;

Socio- Economic Interventions: SUN Development; VPUU City of Cape Town
A host of NGO’s including Mosaic anti gender based violence, UWC Legal Aid Clinic, Sikhula Sonke ECD, Business Place Khayelitsha SMME support, Metro Police, Safety volunteers from the community.





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Cavalli Wine Estate | Somerset West South Africa | OvP Associates Fri, 10 Jan 2014 09:38:38 +0000 ]]> P10A

The setting for this project is a 110 hectare sub-division of a wine farm in the Cape Winelands between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, consisting of existing vineyards and some indigenous natural areas largely infested with alien invader species.

Small wine farms are generally commercially unsustainable and to this end the client, a pharmaceuticals entrepreneur, wishing to enhance the value of his investment and diversify the land use, has developed a flagship stud farm, training facility, vineyards and olives orchards on land which he recognized as having potential due to its location and natural setting.

The client’s brief was to recognize the natural setting with the backdrop of the Helderberg mountains and distant views of Table Mountain, to integrate the existing vineyards with the new equestrian training facilities, to encourage biodiversity through the management of stormwater and waste and the restoration of the indigenous fauna and flora of the Cape Winelands biosphere in accordance with the following principles of the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve:

  • Conservation of the Cape Floral Region and its associated ecosystems.
  • Provision of a sustained flow of high-quality water to adjoining regions.
  • Promotion of sustainable development in order to alleviate poverty and inequality.

Together with the architects, OvP developed the site plan, heralding entrance to the farm with an eye catching gateway, flanked by formal row planting of lavender and olive trees with immediate reference to adjoining orchard row planting.


The access driveway through the estate passes the paddocks and is flanked with trees and a stormwater bio-swale and retention pond with associated fynbos planting. The training facility, set deep into the site forms a backdrop to this pastoral scene. The visibility of the paddocks and training facility from the arterial road was enhanced for commercial reasons.

The state of the art training facility and outdoor arena, cut slightly into the rising ground are integrated into the site by means of a series of place making elements, including forecourt and side spaces with subtle changes of level and horizontal planes with trees, space defining walls and formal planting beds. The design intent is of calmness, minimalism and restraint.

The peripheral planting consists of indigenous fynbos, some of which has been harvested from the existing endemic species pool on site and incorporated into the hydro-seeding of new areas. Formal areas closer to the buildings, for visual effect, consist of carefully selected mixed planting groups, coordinated for colour, texture and variety, providing seasonal year round interest. An indigenous garden links the training facility to the dam and this area now abounds with a diversity of wild flowers attracting various wildlife including guinea fowl, chameleon, waterfowl, butterflies and steenbok.


Through managed intervention, Cavalli is contributing substantially towards the Cape Winelands bioshere with the planting of thousands of indigenous plants and the introduction of sustainable farming practices.

Phase two consisting of a restaurant and wine tasting facilities is currently in progress.

Cavalli Wine Estate | Somerset West South Africa | OvP Associates

CLIENT Cavalli Wine Estate
ARCHITECTS | Bouwer Architects
CONSULTING ENGINEERS | Element Consulting Engineers
QUANTITY SURVEYORS | Metric Quantity Surveyors 0218528868
LANDSCAPE CONTRACTOR | Eco Creations & Keith Kirsten horticulture


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Dube Square | Durban South Africa | CNdV africa Mon, 23 Dec 2013 13:25:12 +0000 ]]> P20A

Dube Square is a unique example of landscape architecture – boldly bringing together the design of public space, the design of an iconic outdoor structure and the design sculptural, water and visual elements to create a memorable outdoor space.


Being involved from the inception of the Dube City project, the landscape architect could ensure that external spaces were correctly dimensioned for a variety of uses, whether for functions, circulation or environmental requirements.

CNdV was responsible for the detailed design of Dube City – including roads, pedestrian spaces, street furniture, sculptural elements, custom designed street furniture and lighting, water features and signage. Dube Square is designed as an open yet comfortable space which provides a setting for daytime and evening functions and gatherings.


Of significance is the design and project coordination by the landscape architect of the award-winning iconic free-form glass and steel structure defining Dube Square.A specialized type of glass provides protection from rain, absorbs UV light, deflects heat and dirt, whilst remaining visually light and translucent.

The understated use of feature lighting, as well as an LED movie screen provides ambience and entertainment. Restaurants on ground level will spill out into the square.

Misters and fountains in the square are part of a connecting and circulating theme of water which, link through various pedestrian spaces, eventually culminating in external swales and reed-beds on the edges of the site, before flowing into river systems.

CNdV worked with local sculptor Andries Botha, responsible for the sculpture of John Dube.

Dube Square won an ILASA Award of Excellence in 2013

Dube Square | Durban South Africa | CNdV africa

Client | Dube Tradeport

Project team |
Landscape architects and principle designers | CNdV africa
Project co-ordinators (glass and steel canopy) | CNdV africa
Structural engineers | Henry Fagan and Partners
Civil engineers | Virtual Consulting Engineers
Project Managers (civil works) | Virtual Consulting Engineers

Contractors and Sub-contractors |
Civils contractor | WBHO/Group 5
Glass and Steel Structure | STS Engineering, Durban
Glass sub-contractor | City Glass, Durban
Soft landscaping | Leitch Landscapes, Durban

Artists / other contributing professionals |
Andries Botha (John Dube Sculpture)

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Biomimicry Discovery Park | Newtown Landscape Architects Mon, 16 Dec 2013 08:15:39 +0000 ]]> Bio1_NWLA

Biomimicry offers enormous potential to transform our landscapes, buildings, products and systems. For every problem that we currently face – whether it is generating energy, finding clean water, designing out waste, manufacturing benign materials, or designing a Biomimicry Discovery Park there will be precedents within nature that we can study.[1]  We believe that our proposal has stayed true to this sentiment and produced a viable, beautify and functional project that ‘talks to’ the values espoused in Biomimicry.


Landscape architecture is increasingly being recognised as a broad cultural, ecological, and artistic practice.   Our approach is a ‘far cry from the old-fashioned idea that design is whimsical and subjective, that planning is objective and fixed’[2].  It illustrates ‘that [landscape architecture] is a vastly expanded field of practice, demonstrating skill and expertise in understanding the context with which the development processes is to take place in order to shape the environment’[3].  It was a complex, multidisciplinary initiative. It counted architects, landscape architects, ecologists, biomimicry specialists and engineers among its participants.   The design proposal illustrates an understanding of landscape as being inclusive of architecture and not separate from it.  It also demonstrates that through an approach the takes its cues from biomimcry philosophy that the landscape is to be viewed not only as a physical entity but also as a way of life, as a powerful, evocative concept reflecting the values and ambitions of biomimicry.  The team was involved at all stages of conception, through debate and discussion enabling participants to move beyond their disciplinary silos to conceptualize a design response that changed the way we each saw the others’ world. This helped us to see things from a different perspective and to develop a concept that was stronger and reflected the ideals of biomimcry rather than that of a specific profession.


The challenge was ….  In seeking to meet this challenge, the landscape architects along with an integrated team where able to present a project that resonates with universal symbolic and spiritual meaning – yet which is unashamedly founded in African cultural expression.

[1] BioWise preamble in initial brief Nov 2012

[2] Moore, K. and Marques, B. “Breaking Down Silos and Compartments” Topos, 82, 2013. pp22

[3] Moore, K. and Marques, B. “Breaking Down Silos and Compartments” Topos, 82, 2013. pp22

 Biomimicry Discovery Park | Newtown Landscape Architects 

Design Firm | Newtown Landscape Architects 

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Engineering Building & Concourse Area | University of Pretoria South Africa | Newtown Landscape Architects Tue, 12 Nov 2013 10:00:18 +0000 ]]> Retaining-walls-with-soft-planting

Partnership, during the design process, with the University ensured continuity of the campus plan. Engagement with the Botany Department guaranteed the extension of the existing Botanical Garden, which was developed using a carefully thought through planting palette and the use of specimen plants sourced directly from the University’s green houses. In addition, an integrated approach to the irrigation design ensured that harvested water is pumped from a basement storage tank that is filled with roof and seepage water and topped up, when necessary, with borehole water from an existing supply line adjacent to the building.


UP explained that the design of the new Engineering Building creates places for students to form informal groups between classes, where they can engage in engineering reasoning and problem-solving through teamwork. The idea was to provide the students with a ‘home away from home’, where they can spend their time in a productive, student-friendly environment.  The landscape design contributed to this overall effect and provides an interesting counterpoint to the building by the following approach:

  • Screening: The purpose of the green screen is to visually and physically screen the adjacent road from the pedestrians inside the building, utilising raised planter boxes and indigenous plant materials.
  • Main Traffic and Pedestrian Entrance: The staggered water-feature at the entrance follows the contours of the site. The tiered water feature also has abstract art installations on different levels announcing the nodal change.
  • Walkways: The wide walkways are shaded with indigenous trees and to easily accommodate the many pedestrians who use them on a daily basis.
  • Planting: mostly evergreen and indigenous, both climbing and hanging plant species were used to soften the large concrete structures and frame the different vistas.
  • Furniture: Seating walls and robust furniture design were used around the Aula to accommodate students during rest periods.




Environmental focus and impact consideration:
Careful planning was required in order to protect and retain two historical avenues of Fever Trees (Acacia xanthophloea) and Canary Palms (Phoenix canariensis) as well as the relocation of the entire succulent botanical garden, which is now located adjacent to the Boukunde building. The existing Fever trees were marked and protected to retain this as far as possible, without damaging this during the construction process.


The entrance and adjacent six storey building features four full-height external green sun screening panels, comprising vertical planting strips in boxes and twenty planters located inside the building. The building has six lecture halls with a total of 1 800 seats, a hall with 450 seats, and two levels of laboratories and offices totaling 10 800 m2. The entire floor area of the building covers approximately 40 000 m2.


A seven-lane entrance eases traffic flow into the parkade as well as onto the Campus. The architects were ARC Architects from Pretoria. The parkade comprises four-and-a-half levels of parking (two-and-a-half of which are underground) and makes provision for 996 parking bays. This consists of reserved parking for lecturers and University staff, as well as open parking for students and visitors.




The project has also won an award from the South African Landscape Institute (SALI): the Bristle Cone Trophy for the Most Innovative and Original use of Plant Material. The award was presented to Life Landscapes, who implemented the project.  The construction period was just over two years, and the project was officially opened on 25 August 2011 by Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training, and Prof Cheryl de la Rey, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

 Engineering Building & Concourse Area | University of Pretoria South Africa | Newtown Landscape Architects

Client: University of Pretoria
Landscape Architect | Newtown Landscape Architects
Main contractor | Stefanutti Stocks
Landscape Contractor | Life Landscapes
Architects | ARC Design
Civil and structural | Aurecongroup
Quantity surveyor | Pentad/Davis Langdon
Electrical Mechanical Engineers | Claasen Auret / Spoormaker & Vennote

Image & Text Credit | Newtown Landscape Architects

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OR Tambo Environmental and Narrative Centre | Ekhuruleni South Africa | Newtown Landscape Architects Tue, 24 Sep 2013 08:28:26 +0000 ]]> 02-OR-Tambo-Environmental-and-Narrative-Centre
After completing the original master planning, Newtown Landscape Architects (NLA), along with SFC, responded to a call by the Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality in 2009, to lead the detail design and implementation of this complex. It was executed as a joint project for the Metro Parks, Environmental Management and Arts & Culture Departments. The bid was successful and SFCNLA JV was given nine months to prepare detail design, complete tenders and begin with implementation.

The building complex consists of a Narrative Centre, a Multi-purpose Centre, with an Amphitheatre as well as an Environmental Educational Centre, all to the value of R54 million. NLA also designed the pedestrian link to the OR Tambo Memorial Cemetery, including a little neighborhood park with custom play equipment and fitness equipment. This will link up with the Wattville Historical Walk which links the precinct to a cultural and historical network that is being developed in the Ekurhuleni Metro.


Leeupan, one of the largest and more sensitive Pans on the East Rand, is known for frequent visits by flamingos and other rare bird species. The 196 hectare site is only a few blocks away from the OR Tambo Memorial Cemetery, which was to be linked with the new centre. The development had to accommodate the existing Beachfront informal settlement, which is to be formalized in due course.


The Client therefore required a very sensitive approach to the building design, clearly showcasing environmentally friendly and labour intensive building practices. Due to site constraints, mainly the presence of existing illegal squatters which were in the process of being relocated, shallow undermining and servitudes, GDARD gave permission that the buildings encroach on the 6 meter buffer zone required in terms of the EIA.
As the original building designs were completed in 2005, significant changes had to be incorporated in order to include new developments in “Green Architecture”. To this end a Specialist Green Architect was brought on board, but only at the same time that the contractor was appointed, due to delays in the procurement process. A number of experimental, labour intensive and green construction methods were included like rammed earth, straw bale and cob bricks. These were combined with other low technological green construction such as earth tube, thermal mass heat exchange floors, environmentally friendly materials and finishes as well as rain water harvesting.

During the bulk earthworks the soil was selectively stockpiled so that the clay could be utilised for the construction of the cob walls and floors. The clay soil was also mixed in with specific sand and line mixtures for the rammed earth walls. Several sample walls were constructed so as to assess the strength and durability in various mix designs. The gravel and poorer soils were used to backfill behind the building’s retaining walls. Stone and rock (blasting was required for the footings and produced bed rock which was very close to the surface) were reused in the gabions and the topsoil was utilised in the rehabilitated planting areas. Pebbles sourced in the excavated soil were reused in the natural water feature.

The abundant subsurface water found on the site is collected through a natural water feature and fed into a storage dam and used for irrigation As the planting is 100% indigenous and there is an abundance of sub surface seepage, irrigation requirements did not have to be calculated in too much detail. This along with harvested rain water is mainly used to flush the toilets saving significantly on the use of potable water – which was almost eliminated for the day-to-day operation of the site for the past year. It was NLA’s proposal that the rain water rather be used for the toilets once it was determined how much seepage water could be harvested by the subsurface drains behind the excavated buildings and roads. Potable water is only used for the fire reticulation and as a back-up for the toilets during functions and must be used for hand wash basins.

It is also envisaged in the future, that the site will include an artificial wetland to deal with the storm water and grey water from the neighboring informal settlement.



The planting design had to blend in with the threatened “Moist Gauteng Grass Land” which was severely disturbed due to the previous informal settlement. The construction site had to be rehabilitated in terms of the Environmental Authorisation, utilising only indigenous plants. The area surrounding the building was replanted with largely Highveld species including grasses, forbs, bulbs, shrubs and trees. Large portions of the site were reseeded to re-establish the original grassland as a remembrance of what this largely urbanised area looked like in the past.



NLA were the project managers for the project, managing the diverse project team, who had to incorporate the input from the Green Architect into their completed designs. NLA also needed to co-ordinate the three municipal departments representing the Client, meet the required disbursements of various funding sources to finance this Mayoral project, which was, at one point the largest building project being rolled out by Ekurhuleni. NLA also had to drive the making of decisions on choices of the green building options as the contract could not be delayed.
Due to the number of non-commercially available plants, NLA were involved in sourcing the plants upfront and visited nurseries as far afield as George and Durban, where some of the bulbs were grown during winter as it was too cold on the Highveld for the plants to mature fast.


OR Tambo Precinct is a significant project and NLA had been involved from inception (by developing the original business plan) to the master planning and then the development of the building complex over a seven year period. NLA had to tender for each of these phases and were fortunate enough to be successful each time. NLA’s experience gained on projects such as Freedom Park was vital in being able to manage a large project within a sensitive environment. To manage the project NLA used their extensive experience working with Municipalities, managing the project team and focussing on the detail of the sustainability issues. This landscape will require less and less maintenance over time and is already saving substantial money in terms of the irrigation water. The building and its landscape fit each other and “sit” very well in the overall landscape of the pan, which will become a conservancy soon.

NLA were responsible for managing the professional team which included SFC Civil & Structural Engineers; Odyssey Architects, JS Quantity Surveyors, Risimati Mechanical & Electrical Engineers, Empower Risk OHS Consultants and Eco Design Architect – the Green Consultants.

Leeupan | Ekhuruleni South Africa |Newtown Landscape Architects 


Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality

Landscape Architect:
Newtown Landscape Architects 

Year: 2004 to 2013

Project Cost | R 54,000,000

Project Team
Landscape Architect | Newtown Landscape Architects
Project Architects | Odyssey Architects
Consulting Engineers | Semenya Furumele Engineers
Town Planner | EMM Town Planners
Quantity Surveyor | JS and Associates Quantity Surveryors
Landscape Contractor | Earthforce Landscape

Green consultant | Eco Design Architects & Consultants

Major Suppliers
Tshala Plant Brokers
Controlled Irrigation
Grundfos pumps
Lafarge Concrete
Soil King – Compost
Brand’s Tree Felling – Mulch
Enviro Elements – Street Furniture
Evergreen Turf – Lawn
Afrisam – Aggregate
Corobrik – Paving
Geotextiles Africa – Pond liner and sub soil drains

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ILASA announces 2013 Awards of Excellence Mon, 16 Sep 2013 09:08:32 +0000 ]]>  Green-Point

The Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa awarded their annual awards with 11 projects winning an Award of Excellence. Also awarded were the Presidential Award, a best use of trees sponsor award, and the Icon of Landscape Architecture, which was awarded to Johan van Papendorp who was best described by Penny Moir: “Johan is not only one of the founding members of OvP Associates, but one of the founding landscape architects for the profession in South Africa.”

For a full list of awards

2013 Corobrik-ILASA Awards of Excellence – List of Awards

Icon of Landscape Architecture - Johan van Papendorp

Awards of Excellence

115 West, Alexander Forbes Northern Water Feature and Sculpture – Insite Landscape Architects

Cavalli Wine Estate – OvP Associates

Dube Squre Iconic Sculpture – CNdV Africa

Green Point Common – OvP Associates

Khayelitsh District Hospital – Clare Burgess Landscape Architects

Miitchels Plain Hospital – Tarna Klitzner Landscape Architects

One and Only Hotel – OvP Associates

South African Landscape Architecture: A Compendium and A Reader  – Clinton Hindes, Hennie Stoffberg and Liana Müller

The Falls Pick ‘n Pay – Interdesign Landscape Architects

The Freedom Park Phase 2A //Hapo – NBGM Landscape Architecture Joint Venture

VPUU Walkway Links – Tarna Klitzner Landscape Architects


Just Trees Award - for the best use of trees. 

Green Point Common – OvP Associates


Special Award

Awarded to Clare Burgess and Bruce Eitzen in recognition of the time and effort spent arranging the successful and inspiring 49th International Federation of Landscape Architecture (IFLA) World Congress, which was held in Cape Town from 4 to 7 September last year.


Presidential Award 

Green Point Common – OvP Associates

IMAGE | Courtesy of ILASA


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UNISA Kgorong Centre | Pretoria South Africa | Cave Klapwijk and Associates Wed, 28 Aug 2013 14:35:22 +0000 ]]> CKA-UNISA-001
UNISA’s brief to the design team was to reflect a new Africanism, a site of confluence of traditional wisdom transmitted to a younger generation. The Kgorong Centre was built as a gathering place for students and gateway to the rest of the campus. The centre is envisioned to become the soul, heart and spirit of the UNISA campus, while linking different levels on a steep slope through sweeping forms that relate intimately with the building architecture. The brief also called for the creation of a piazza space accessible to all. The challenge was to integrate the steep slope with the different levels of the building.



When UNISA decided to revamp the main entrance to the Muckleneuk campus, HMZ Architects were contracted by UNISA to design an information centre on a steeply sloped site with the Theo van Wijk Building and an established canopy of trees as backdrop.

The circular building informed the semi-circular design of the piazza. Due to the difficulty of the site, and an inability to get rezoning permission for the area east of Preller Street, the original design of a full amphitheatre was adapted to a semi-circle.


Cave Klapwijk and Associates decided on a colourful mass planting of shrubs and groundcovers, composed of six mixes. The first mix consists of Agapanthus campanulatus, Aloe cooperi, Bulbine abyssinica, Chlorophytum saundersiae, Crocosmia aurea and Dietes bicolor and provides a mid-summer brilliant display along the boulevards. The second mix is largely the same, with Dietes replaced by  Acorus gramineus ‘Golden Edge’. The third mix, used on the upper piazza, contains many of the previous elements, creating a continuity throughout the planting, but introduces Carex testacea. The fourth and fifth mixes, on the other side of a Buddleia saligna hedge that runs along Preller Street and around the back of the building, consists of hardy plants: Agapanthus praecox ‘White’, Chlorophytum saundersiae, Crassula multicava and Dietes bicolor. The last mix pares it down to two, Chlorophytum saundersiae and Dietes bicolor.


With regard to trees, it was not possible to retain most of the mature Acacia sieberiana specimens on site, but four large Acacia xanthophloea trees, 200l volume, complement the strong architectural curves of the Kgorong centre on the piazza and already cast shade over the concrete benches. Peltophorum africanum trees, planted amidst the first planting mix, line the boulevard that leads to the parking area. The other nine trees used in the design (Acacia karroo, Celtis africana, Dombeya rontundifolia, Dovyalis zeyheri, Erythrina lysistemon, Heteromorpha arborescens, Olea europaea subsp. africana, Rhus lancea and Ziziphus mucronata) were chosen to echo the original vegetation along the slope below the building, with Ziziphus mucronata particularly striking against the building’s cladding.

The paving, designed by Cave Klapwijk and Associates, over an area of 2 163m², was installed using solid granite cobbles, various stone pavers and cut sandstone stones.  Use was made on the staircase of bullnose pavers for treads and stone risers.

Street furniture, an important element given the purpose of the centre, matches the paving in terms of material and colour and consists of exposed aggregate bollards, concrete benches in sandstone colour, rock seating and sandstone coloured litter bins.


Prominent to the design is a water feature, a shallow pool on the upper piazza with a waterfall into a rectangular pond, decorated above and below with stainless steel ‘reeds’ that can sway in the wind. They also act as a safety precaution to hinder access to the pools and waterfall. The water falling over the lip of the dry-stone wall cladding cools down the piazza and reduces noise.

A striking mosaic of UNISA’s name and brand colours (designed by Cave Klapwijk & Associates) along the stairs to the waterfall, was installed as large computer-generated tiling sheets.

Menno Klapwijk comments that, despite the difficult site, everyone worked well together as a multi-disciplinary team, with Neal Dunstan a passionate and meticulous landscape project leader. Nerina Bezuidenhout says of the project: “It was stimulating and challenging in the sense of executing the landscape architecture brilliance of the design. Neal made it very easy for us.” Marco Zietsman, the project architect, says that she is very pleased with the way in which the landscape architects ‘gave flesh to her ideas’ on what was a particularly challenging site due to its steep slope.

UNISA Kgorong Centre | Pretoria South Africa | Cave Klapwijk and Associates

Text Credit | Carolize Jansen

Image Credit | Carolize Jansen and Armand Kok.

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El-Menia Design Competition | exp and lemay | Constantine Algeria Tue, 25 Jun 2013 06:17:18 +0000 ]]>
After a global competition, exp and lemay, won an international competition launched by the Agence de gestion et de régulation foncière urbaine de la Wilaya de Constantine in Algeria. This competition aimed at the realisation of a major project in the city of Constantine, Algeria, of approximately $ 2.4 billion ($ 2.4B), including $1.57 billion ($1.57B) devoted to the residential sector.

The urban concept, created by the exp and lemay team, was chosen unanimously by the jury. Their winning proposal stood out for its excellence, its relevance, its originality and its audacity; its competitors consisted of international firms from Europe, Asia, America and Africa.

Design and Cultural Approach
Developed according to sustainable development principles, the main intention of the concept proposal is two-fold: create a rich and diversified living environment and mark the territory with an urban configuration that lives up to the mythical status of the 3000-year old city of Constantine.

Inspired by the traditional Maghrebian courtyard, at the center of the medinas and Arab towns of North Africa, the concept reflects the cultural characteristics of the landscapes and integrates a clear hierarchy between private and public spaces and between openness and privacy. In this prized proposal, this medina figure is reinterpreted according to the new realities of contemporary urban life based on the peculiar topography of the sector. Using the mountains and the dramatic landscape, the design benefits from major elevations, which create zones of variable density with fluid and iconic green wedges meandering through. Consequently, even though the city was planned to achieve optimal density avoiding urban sprawl and automobile dependency, large and autonomous green spaces were planned to support biodiversity

As the sinuous lines of Arabic calligraphy and arabesques, El-Menia urban figure proposes a symbolic relationship between the individual and his territory. The iconic silhouette of the new neighbourhood will extend over an area of 1.2 million m² as a stamp on the region, at the image of the ancient and legendary cities.

Modernity and heritage
Although the concept is inspired by the history and typologies of Algeria, the proposition aims to house more than 20,000 residents, as well as various offices, shops, recreation centers and schools for a growing population of workers, visitors and tourists. The project of 6,500 to 7,500 housing units will be adapted to a contemporary lifestyle but in continuity with local traditions.

In this perspective, the proposed strategies will consolidate the citizens’ lifestyles and advanced technologies in terms of design, construction, and, of course, sustainable development. In this regard, all service areas are located from a short walking distance of residential zones and an efficient and low-cost cableway system was planned to facilitate commute throughout the city. Spaces were design to promote urban agriculture inside the city to reduce the dependence towards imported food, to allow food self-sufficiency and support the local industry. Optimized green spaces, a reduce road network, infrastructure fighting heat islands, use of solar energy as well as studies on the use of wind turbine, photovoltaic cells and geothermic system were also integrated into the program.

In other words, El-Menia is a model city in its ecological planning, based on leading best practices in sustainable development, all in the heart of an urban lifestyle. This project, which will be carried out with exp and lemay’s signature expertise will meet the population’s needs perfectly, in the creation of the new neighbourhood of El-Menia, a place that is set to become a richly diversified living environment for the people of Constantine.

With its pragmatic and audacious strategies, the city of El-Menia can be perceived as a systemic organism with a functional, technical, regulatory, economic, social and symbolic composition. As a result of these multiples forces, our new city presents an ecosystem integrating different variables while taking into account the refine art of living and friendly character so distinctive of the Algerian culture.


El-Menia Design Competition | exp and lemay | Constantine Algeria


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Landscape Architects connecting through social media Wed, 12 Sep 2012 15:44:43 +0000 ]]> Landscape Architects connecting through social media

Twitter Network: @wlandscapearch Fig.3 in “Finding Multi-Centers: Using crowd-sourcing technologies to define communities of landscape architecture” Hewitt et al

Landscape Architects are connecting through various social networks and platforms to stay informed and learn about the latest landscape topics. Recently, Robert Hewitt, ASLA, is a Professor of Landscape Architecture at Clemson University who has recently co-authored “Finding Multi-Centers: Using crowd-sourcing technologies to define communities of landscape architecture” (1) and World Landscape Architecture has been included in the study that shows landscape architects, architects, planners “share degrees of common topical interests related to competitions, projects, and research topics.”

Hewitt et al study compares data “…mined from twitter feeds of 5 different sources representing the landscape architecture profession and important affiliated professions. The 5 sources included: the APA, the ASLA, World Landscape Architecture, and Architectural Record and Architizer…..”. The study finds “presented methods that combine crowd-sourcing techniques with related web-site, social media and geo-location data and techniques to identify and differentiate social network characteristics and geo-locations of the most active socially networked cities throughout the globe.” The study realises that some cities are more active that others in discussing various issues but most of the discussion is in relation to their own city, which is an interesting use of a global network.

Social Media networks are bigger than many nations across the world and within these social networks there are communities (geo-spatial) similar to the offline world that share a common interest. More and more professionals, academics, organisations, non-profits and interest groups are using the power of social media to connect, share and converse about common topics, problems and solutions.

World Landscape Architecture Social Networks

The study has found that the World Landscape Architecture (WLA) network “….is the most densely interconnected, with many followers intensely interconnected throughout the network, and the most influential followers spread throughout the larger network from its center to periphery.” The WLA network is also strong in the United States, Canada, Mexico with our global network being concentrated in Europe, Australia and East Asia with “… several influential nodes in England, China, Australia and Japan.” Although we are not strong in South America and Africa, we are trying our hardest to increase our network in these regions by featuring work from Africa and South America.

World Landscape Architecture is active in promoting landscape architecture through social media and also providing  projects, news, information, competitions to our readers and we see social media as a great tool for spreading the word about landscape architecture to beyond the landscape architecture community. World Landscape Architecture is  flattered to be include in the study and thank the authors for providing us with an insight into how landscape architects and allied professionals are using social networks and connecting across the globe.

How can you connect with more landscape architects?
Join our LinkedIN Group, become a WLA Fan on Facebook, Circle us on Google+ or Follow us on twitter @wlandscapearch

(1) Finding Multi-Centers: Using crowd-sourcing technologies to define communities of landscape architecture was co-authored by Robert Hewitt, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Clemson University and Principal HewittNassar StudioGeoff Taylor Solutions Engineer ESRIHala Nassar, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Clemson University; Brooks Patrick, University of Stockholm; Copyright CELA

The full report is available via ASLA at Dirt 

First spotted at The Dirt - Landscape Architects’ Network Is Global, Dense, and Inter-connected



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