What Will Be Mandela’s Spatial Legacy?

Rendering for Greenpoint Stadium. Image Courtesy of http://bensnewgreenpointstadium.webs.com/

From the window of an airplane it’s all too plain that apartheid has been deeply written into the South African landscape. Even the smallest town appears as two distinct towns. One features a spacious grid of tree-lined streets and comfortable houses surrounded by lawns. The other, its shriveled twin, some distance away but connected by a well-traveled road, consists of a much tighter grid of dirt roads lined with shacks. Trees are a rarity, lawns non-existent. This doubling pattern appears no matter the size of the population: here, the white town; over there, the black township. — Lisa Findley, “Red & Gold: A Tale of Two Apartheid Museums.”

There are few systems of government that relied so heavily upon the delineations of space than the Apartheid government of (1948-1994). Aggressively wielding theories of Modernism and racial superiority, ’s urban planners didn’t just enforce Apartheid, they embedded it into every city – making it a daily, degrading experience for ’s marginalized citizens.

When and his party, the African National Congress, were democratically elected to power in 1994, they recognized that one of the most important ways of diminishing Apartheid’s legacy would be spatial: to integrate the white towns and the black townships, and revive those “shriveled twin[s].”

As we remember Mandela – undoubtedly the most important man in South Africa’s history – and ponder his legacy, we must also consider his spatial legacy. It is in the physical, spatial dimensions of South Africa’s towns and cities that we can truly see Apartheid’s endurance, and consider: to what extent have Mandela’s words of reconciliation and righteous integration, truly been given form?

Albizia House / Metropole Architects

© Grant Pitcher

Architects: Metropole Architects
Location: ,
Design Architect: Nigel Tarboton
Project Architect: Tyrone Reardon
Project Technician: Chris Laird
Area: 1000.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Grant Pitcher

PLAYscapes Competition Results Announced

© Winning Student Team, Lusiada University of Lisbon

“People tend to forget that play is serious.” – David Hockney

, an international design competition launched earlier this year asking people to “submit a plan or proposal to turn a neglected forgotten part of your city into a playscape,” has announced their winning entries. Set up by Building Trust International, the competition called for “professional and student architects and designers from cities around the world to propose ideas which encouraged public interaction and turned redundant city spaces into fun creative places.”

Find out more about the winning professional entry from the City of Cape Town, entitled Cape Town Gardens Skatepark, along with the winning student entry from the Lusiada University of Lisbon, entitled Bring a Pal and Have Fun, after the break…

Melkbos / SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects

Courtesy of

Architects: SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Location: Melkbosstrand, Cape Town,
Project Team: Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl & Francois Geldenhuys
Photographs: Courtesy of SAOTA

Mamelodi POD / Architecture for a Change

© (PTY)LTD

Architects: Architecture for a Change
Location: Mamelodi, Pretoria,
Architects In Charge: Anton Bouwer, Dirk Coetser, John Saaiman
Collaborators: Youth Zones (Supporting Organization)
Year: 2013
Photographs: Architecture for a Change (PTY)LTD

Kloof 151 / SAOTA

Courtesy of SAOTA

Architects: SAOTA
Location: Clifton, ,
Project Team: Philip Olmesdahl, Stefan Antoni & Johann van der Vyver
Interior Design: Mark Rielly & Ashleigh Gilmour
Year: 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of SAOTA

De Wet 34 / SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects

© Adam Letch

Architects: SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Location: Bantry Bay, , South Africa
Project Team: Stefan Antoni, Bobby Hugill, Duke Williams
Interior Design: OKHA Interiors – Adam Court
Year: 2012
Photographs: Adam Letch,

A Glimpse of Hope for Johannesburg’s Forgotten Ponte Tower

The Ponte Tower is a residential high-rise in , South Africa with a unique history and now a promising future. It was designed by architect in the 1970′s to be one of the most desirable places to live in the city, with an iconic, hollowed out interior, three-story apartments and rooftop jacuzzis. Over time, however, the building fell into disrepair and instead of serving as an icon of extreme wealth and prosperity, it became an icon of poverty and indifference. In still racially-divided South Africa, this was marked by the moving out of whites and the moving in of a primarily black population as property values plummeted. It has been associated with high levels of crime, a lack of sanitariness and even suicides, thanks to the building’s hollow core.

Recently, however, the derelict Ponte Tower has received more attention from investors and the architect himself, who doesn’t necessarily want to restore the building to its former glory but wishes to at least make it a decent place to live. The introduction of stringent security has encouraged more open-minded, middle-class citizens to move in, hoping for a profitable return as the Ponte Tower continues to grow in terms of value. Watch this featured video for more on the building’s comeback and what it will mean for its current and future residents.  

Head Road 1815 / SAOTA

©

Architects: SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Location: Fresnaye, , South Africa
Project Team: Philip Olmesdahl, Stefan Antoni
Interior Decor: Client
Year: 2007
Photographs: SAOTA

Human.Kind Advertising / PPS Architects

© Lizl Sheridan

Architects: PPS Architects
Location: ,
Year: 2013
Photographs: Lizl Sheridan

Cove 6 / SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects

© SAOTA

Architects: SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Location: Pezula, Knysna,
Project Team: Stefan Antoni, Greg Truen & Johann van der Merwe
Year: 2008
Photographs: SAOTA

St Leon 10 / SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects

Courtesy of SAOTA

Architects: SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Location: Bantry Bay, ,
Architects In Charge: Stefan Antoni & Philip Olmesdahl
Interior Design: Antoni Associates – Mark Rielly
Year: 2008
Photographs: Courtesy of SAOTA

Podium at Menlyn / Boogertman + Partners Architects

© Michael Schmucker

Architects: Boogertman + Partners Architects
Location: ,
Area: 22,000 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Michael Schmucker

Clifton View 7 / Antoni Associates

© Adam Letch

Architects: Antoni Associates
Location: Clifton, ,
Interior Architecture: Mark Rielly
Interior Decor: Adam Court
Year: 2012
Photographs: Adam Letch

POD / Greg Wright Architects

© Kate Del Fante Scott

Architects: Greg Wright Architects
Location: , South Africa
Year: 2012
Photographs: Kate Del Fante Scott

House Mosi / Nico van der Meulen Architects

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Architects: Nico van der Meulen Architects
Location: , South Africa
Area: 731 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of Nico van der Meulen Architects

Plett 6541+2 / SAOTA

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Architects: Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Location: The Robberg, Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route,
Design Team: Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl, Bobby Hugill
Interior Design: Daniela Priebatsch, Emi Cavalieri
Year: 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of SAOTA

House Ber / Nico van der Meulen Architects

© Barend Roberts

Architects: Nico van der Meulen Architects
Location: Midrand,
Interior Design: M Square Lifestyle Design
Year: 2012
Photographs: Barend Roberts, David Ross, Victoria Pilcher