//hapo - The Freedom Park Legacy Project

From a distance, against the dusty koppies and dusky jacarandason the outskirts of Pretoria’s civic centre museum one could be forgiven for thinking that “//hapo”, the new addition to the Freedom Legacy Park, is indeed a translation of the Khoisan for a “dream.” The copper clad blocks are designed to evoke the ancient boulders that dot the hillsides and are laid out in an organic cluster that process elegantly across the landscape.

From a closer viewpoint the buildings which house the Freedom Park Museum, the Pan-African Archive, a centre for knowledge and a garden of remembrance are tightly conceived both spatially and symbolically.

Spatially the series of abstracted boulders rise out of a gently landscaped plaza, breach, break, curve and fold into deep, dim fissures. These complex irregularities mimic an ancient landscape and in so doing provide a variety of exhibition spaces delineated by differences of lights and volume.




Symbolically the copper cladding alludes to the abundant material traded and worked throughout Southern Africa for millennia whilst facilitating the complex surfacing that will, with time, develop a transformative and earthbound patina. The boulder-blocks themselves speak of mountainous shelters of Khoisan healers and pay homage to the rocky Highveld landscape.

The project was designed by GAPP Architects and Urban Designers, Mashabane Rose Associates and MMA Architects, working under the umbrella of The Office for Collaborative Design and would seem to live up to the rare standard already set by some of those practices at the Apartheid Museum.

Project Name : //Hapo Freedom Park Legacy Project
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Architects: GAPP Architects and Urban Designers, Mashabane Rose Associates and MMA Architects, working The Office for Collaborative Design

Project Area: -
Project Year: 2010
Text: za_architecture

Cape Town's International Convention Centre secured funding in March 2011 to expand eastwards by over 10,000 m2 to create a "convention precinct linking it to the Artscape Theatre.

Good news for CT's CBD and for the construction industry in that city. It will be very interesting to see what the architects Van der Merwe Miszewski design particularly in terms of environmentally friendly design. Also under discussion in possible expansion north into the"Customs House" which could prove contentious among those who love the somewhat derelict behemoth. We loved VDMMA's previous design proposals (see website here) which included a much needed move to open up the Foreshore coastline.

Watch this space for more...

Safmarine Container Sports Centre

This project by Tsai Design Studio signals how an innovative use of new materials and techniques and an imaginative take on recycling can breath new life and pride into both an industrial by-product and a disadvantaged community. We look forward to more like this...

The lifespan of a globe trotting sea freight container is normally only 10 years, although it is built to last for at least 20 years. Eager to inject new life into these retired containers stored at the docks, SA shipping company Safmarine commissioned us to develop several prototypes for their CSR community projects. These include prototypes for sport centers, computer labs and emergency relief housing, each to be rolled out in numbers.

The sport centers, a reincarnation of the 12 meter long container, are intended for school fields or community grounds as an anchoring point that accommodates a coach’s office, two change rooms and a equipment store room. In order to fully benefit the disadvantaged communities, we also added several multifunctional elements to the program in order to maximize its use:

Sheltering sky:

A sheltering roof is placed over the container to shade the spectators. It is sculpted with sharp edges and folds to celebrate the dynamic energy of sports.

The extra layer of roof also insulates the container from harsh sunlight, while the gap in-between allows light penetration and cross ventilation that reduces heat buildup.

Grandstand Seating:

In most sports grounds, the grandstand seating or pavilion is the place where people congregate and meet to watch a game. Therefore we also attached a small grandstand seating under the roof canopy as a meeting point for the children.

Advertising / movie screen:

The roof structure folds down vertically on one side, and can be used for advertising and / or a movie screen. The advertising billboard can be rented out as a possible source of income to sustain the centre, or as signage for the sponsors. At night, the big screen can be turned into an outdoor movie theater for the community.

The first Sport Center prototype, sponsored by Safmarine and their shipping customer, Star South, was built under a month to coincide with the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The town of Piketberg, 120 kilometers outside of Cape Town, is selected as its home to serve and benefit one hundred children who belong to the “Stars in their Eyes” programme - a project run jointly by a Dutch company and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape, where each participating disadvantaged community is twinned with a Dutch football club to train local coaches with football techniques and life skills.

Project Name : Safmarine Container Sports Centre
Location: Piketberg, South Africa
Architects: Y Tsai Design Studi
Project Area: n/a
Project Year: 2010
Photographs and text: Y Tsai

House Vame

House Vame, completed in 2006 is one of the projects that made SAOTA's name in South Africa and internationally. Discerning clients based in New York required a 2 Bedroom beach house for Southern Hemisphere holidaying on a sea-front stretch of the West Coast north of Cape Town. Their desire for minimal aesthetic and elegant lines have been interpreted without giving too much ground to an extraneous internationalism.

A clear plan comprising two wings intersecting as an L affords privacy from without and transparency and light from within. The wings respond to a climate that can swings seasonably from hot and dry to wet and cold and is subject to high sea winds throughout the year.

One of the most successful and elegant moves is to raise the footprint off the ground plane. This speaks in its seeming lightness of holidays and relaxation but also, in its seeming buoyancy, of the sea beyond. The sculptural quality of the upper storey calls to mind the occasionally stark vernacular of the West Coast - see the church bell in nearby Churchaven for example.

The interiors are restrained - white painted plaster walls, warm off shutter concrete soffits, full height walnit stained mahogany doors and a rich red "boire" timber stair cantilevered off a spine wall. Outside the palette is charachterised by balau timber that will wear with time and the elements to a weathered grey.

Project Name : Yzerfontein
Location: Pearl Bay, Yzerfontein, South Africa
Architects: SAOTA (Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects) - Stefan Antoni, Richard Townsend, Holger Deppe
Project Area: 828 sqm
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Stefan Antoni