Bhisho Contact Centre – (2018)
The Contact Centre serves as a easily accessible gathering space and seeks to announce to visitors and residents that they have entered the Capital of the Eastern Cape Province. It forms an integral part of a first node of the “Bhisho Revitalisation Programme”.
Bhisho was a “new town” created out of nothing; built up on open pastureland to house the capital of the Ciskei homeland in the Apartheid 1980’s. Since then though, it has never quite escaped the sense that it is in some way a semi-abandoned, never-completed ghost town. The idea is that the Contact Centre is the first of a number of projects identified in an Urban Renewal Strategy to begin to “fill in the gaps” and act as a catalyst for other public and private sector projects to continue the pattern. The Contact Centre is used as an inter-departmental, inter-sectoral meeting place; a neutral space promoting communication across and between “silos”.
Positioned at the intersection of the R63 and Link Road, The Contact Centre is highly visible as an “architectural signpost”. It gives definition to the town by acting as an entrance gateway , together with the existing Bhisho Massacre Memorial site.
The building consists of flexible meeting and exhibition spaces. At ground level the building forms an extension to the development of the Bhisho Massacre Memorial, taking the concentric design of the memorial gardens into consideration. Through the creation of an expansive plaza, outdoor entertainment spaces along with information plaques; the design is an appropriate expression of the current development on site.
The building on ground level takes a circular form, with a contradicting rectangular shape presenting itself in the planning, once inside the building. The vertical circulation element is situated right at the entry point of the building, with the entrances on either side, forming the edges of a triple story void / natural ventilation stack system.
The circular form continues on the first floor. Both levels are enclosed with a continuous glazed curtain wall, which is offset from the floors. The second floor form changes from a circle to a more elongated oval shape, allowing a greater usable floor area. The entire Level is screened off with an external floor to roof timber louver system, to provide a solar shield.
Walmer Occupational Health and Wellness Centre (2010)
Nelson Mandela Bay 2010 World Cup Stadium – in association with GMP, ADA, DBA & GAPP – (2009)
Ubuntu Educational Centre – In Association with Stan Field Architecture – (2010)
NMMU Missionvale Campus Library – (2010)
Youth Centre – Community Facilities Fountain Road – (2010)
The Advice Centre is one of the projects proposed for the upgrade of Fountain Road, the primary road serving the community in Gqebera. It makes provision for a Library facility that was the first of its kind within community.
The existing, dilapidated, introverted Ekunyamezeleni Advice Centre along Fountain Road was earmarked to accommodate the development. It occupies erf 4559 of Walmer Allotment area and is at an important node in the suburb of Gqebera. Before the upgrade, the building accommodated a number of service providers, including doctor’s offices, funeral parlours, a post office and a community hall; it overlooked an internal square, turning its back on the community.
The new design sought to deliver a compact building, seeking to expose the square as well as contain and upgrade the civic functions it harbours and to maximise the buildings floor plate within the boundary line, which has large splayed corners. By elevating the library above the noisy activities of Fountain Road, it allows a visual, communal link to this internal square, by means of a transparent building where the activities are exposed, contributing positively to the social fabric.
In order to make the centre recognisable, a distinct African theme was adopted in the conceptual stages. Reference to basket weave, carving patterns and beadwork designs are hinted at, but the resultant geometry is completely new, contemporary and of this time and space.
The distinct and authentic African theme was further accentuated through the choice of materials, such as the timber joinery reception counter, diamond ground concrete reception and passage floor finishes, clay brick paving and walling on the ground floor and exposed timber beams.
The building’s activities are supported with passive design, where natural lighting features prominently, but also dealing with the harsh, western sun with a louvered facade that’s also inclined to deflect sunlight. An impressive off-shutter inclined concrete structure, gives rise to slender steel supports that elevate a light metal sheeted roof.
80% of the facility caters for children, allowing this to be the first library serving and supporting the local children of the community.