Le Morne Mixed Use Development
in association with NLA
Le Morne Brabant, Mauritius
Project proposal 2009

GREENinc together with NLA, were approached by Foresite through Boogertman+Partners to develop an integrated Masterplan for a project located in the Le Morne Brabant, Mauritius. Due to its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, the team was presented with various challenges in how to design a place that is both commercially viable and environmentally integrated. After many discussions and design concepts we came to the conclusion that in seeking an environmentally responsive solution we will address the desire for sustainable commercial success. The next challenge was to modulate 90000m2 of letable/sellable space in a mixed use format without compromising the rural nature of the site, or visually competing with Le Morne Brabant.

The solution was derived from predominantly three ideas:
Compact Footprints in a sequence of "Villages"
A Cultural Link that is inclusive and vibrant
Buildings as part of ecology and not imposed or building as a "host for life"

Compact footprints:
Due to rural character of the site one's natural response would be to spread a "low slung" development across the site thus following the approach used in our Corniche Bay project. Challenging this idea, we proposed the opposite: A higher density nodal development with large conservation areas in between offered a less exclusive cultural experience as well as a controllable physical impact on the site. Services are compact and therefore less costly. Critical mass is also achieved much sooner than the "build here. . .build there" type development, thus allowing for small commercial opportunities to be successful. Social cohesion and interaction is the benefit of closeness.

A Cultural Link:
Following our conclusion that the idea of development nodes was the right solution for the project we realised that paths or links were necessary not only to link the villages, but also to connect the project with the greater environment. Beaches (including one of the world's top kite surfing destinations), the Le Morne Brabant, the Slavery Memorial as well as the historical Le Morne Village are all critical points of connection and had to be acknowledged. Cultural inclusivity is embraced while opportunity and openness were encouraged. Social benefit through participation in economic opportunities for local citizens is fundamental to the success of the link system.

Buildings as part of ecology:
Due to the potential visual impact of the development of the site we understood the built form to be 'learning from the natural landscape', specifically the way in which fissures in rock surfaces become the habitat for living organisms. Green roofs and living walls are envisioned throughout. Pathways and courtyard surfaces are permeable and cool thus creating a liveable habitat. The development will facilitate the rehabilitation of wetlands as well as the natural landscape. The intention is to re-establish native plant species in the "formal" landscape areas.

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