Lehae Park is situated to the south of Johannesburg in the context of a new government-housing scheme. At the time of commissioning of the design, less than half of the residential units were constructed but the first members of the community had been moved into the area.
The design approach for Lehae Park focused on the development of a vibrant community park that promotes the integration of the local community through an emphasis on the play element by children. The design aimed to satisfy the needs of a broad social grouping that included a range from children to adults, different cultural, religious and social backgrounds around a common need for recreational space. The sustainability of the park hinged on the incorporation of robust play elements, as well as drought resistant and frost hardy plants.
The development of the park is articulated around a central playground. The playground was developed with a narrative that involves the dynamics present in and around a termite mound as a dominant feature in the Highveld grassland present on site before development started. The narrative explored the relationship of nature and people and how we are connected and dependent on each other. This was translated into the design elements of the playground. The play equipment is associated with a sequence of freestanding perforated walls, which form an interconnected playing space.
Central to the construction and development process was also the issue of job creation, capacity building and skills transfer. Unemployed people from the adjacent community were employed and trained in the use of alternative building technologies, horticulture, landscape installation and maintenance.
Lehae Park | Johannesburg, South Africa | Habitat Landscape Architects
Location | Lehae, Johannesburg South, South Africa
Client | Johannesburg City Parks
Design Firm | Habitat Landscape Architects
Landscape Contractor | Tswelopele Landscaping
Image Credits | Habitat Landscape Architects