Friday, 27 May 2011

Allow me to introduce to you...

First and foremost apologies for delayest of delaying delays for this long overdue belated (need I emphasize more?!) introduction! And so, allow me to introduce to you . . .

The Brief - to choose an existing building and design a reuse proposal for it. The proposed new function for the building needs to add value to the area and the community it serves, with a deeper interpretation. To enrich society at large. The proposal needs to be feasible in terms of context and location, as well as aesthetics, economic, functional, cultural and psychological reasons.

The Chosen One - the building that I have selected is the Gqebera Enterprise Market, in Walmer, on the outskirts of Walmer Township, in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The building, designed in part by architect Gavin Mclachlan, was built in three phases; the first phase being built between 1999 and 2000, and the last phase being completed in 2008. The building was originally designed to serve as a touristic, cultural experience 'pit stop' for travellers landing at the Port Elizabeth airport and driving towards the Garden Route. It was also aimed to install a sense of pride in the township community, and to create a link between the township and the larger Walmer suburb. Its biggest downfall being the lack of managerial skill, of which the role was entrusted upon individuals of the township community; vandalism and theft also ensued and prevailed.

The Gqebera centre is currently an enterprise: an organization created for business ventures. The total area of the market centre is broken up into, or composed of about fifty small (more or less 28m2) individual rentable spaces. Some of the businesses which currently occupy the rentable spaces include; hairdressers, a take-away, a hardware shop, a second-hand mattress seller, carpenters, welders, an upholsterer, a second-hand (clothe) shop, a cleaning products company, an internet cafe, a craft workshop, a traditional doctor and three funeral homes.

The market centre is a public building, owned by the municipality. This would, in addition, be combined and incorporated with the Walmer Hydroponics Project (a local economic support programme involving the Walmer Location community in growing vegetables etc.), which consists of large greenhouse tunnels. The market centre has a ‘D’ shaped, or (closed) semi-circular plan, with a kraal-like, open air central courtyard — onto which most of the rentable spaces look onto. At the very centre of the ‘kraal’ is an elevated platform or stage, covered with a thatch roof. Also centrally located are the ablution blocks.





aerial view...




front facade...




internal (courtyard) elevation...

I will leave you to digest that bite for now!

Peace Out ☮