Pan African Parliament
Midrand, South Africa
Competition entry 2007

The architectural quality of the proposed landscape is inversely complimented by the landscape quality of the architecture (by Mashabane Rose Architects): the building extends away from the N1 highway as a cut into the slope of the site creating a linear public park.

This intervention fulfills three objectives:

1) The cut allows the creation of a water body which acts as part of the man-made wetland system that purifies grey water from the building.

2) The linear park, as opposed to a rectangular model, minimizes the impact on the existing grassland - an ecosystem threatened by irresponsible development in Midrand.

3) In the spirit of democracy, there is a desire to create a meaningful public space as part of the African Parliament complex; a place for African music festivals, art exhibitions, film screenings and merely walking in a beautiful park in an otherwise harsh environment.

As a unifying concept, an analogy was drawn from the context. Kloof landscapes are found where rivers cut through hills to create lush vertical spaces juxtaposed with the horizontal and sparse nature of the highveld. As an abstraction of this landscape pattern, the retaining walls of the park consist of pre-cast concrete blocks stacked to form a jagged edge that not only retains soil, but also accommodates the growth of plants and defines shaded spaces for the visitor.

The design of the park attempts to create an integrated natural, functional and aesthetic environment which embodies an African experience of landscape as opposed to a two dimensional picturesque ideal.

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