Studio Staff: Stephan Lear, Mark Hardman

The MBDA is seeking to develop a conceptual framework / vision that will contribute to and enhance the impact of the precinct plan and implementation plan envisioned for the Port of Port Elizabeth, Marina Precinct and adjacent Central Business District.

The Kings Beach Lifesaving Club building is currently occupied by the Kings Beach Surf Lifesaving Club as well as the offices of Lifesaving ast Cape and the NMMM Ward 2 Councillor. The needs of the club and the other users are expanding and the building is no longer suitable. Further to this the building is plagued by water/damp problems, structural problems and crime due to vagrants living in the dunes. The current location of the club is ideal to its function although the dune system/sand build-up, created as a result of the man-made catch fences and the harbour wall extension, pose a danger to the club in that it threatens to swallow the structure whilst reducing visibility from the club to the beach. The system is extremely mobile and this cannot be controlled due to environmental legislation constraints. In addition, the dune system serves as a barrier to flooding and rising sea levels caused by global warming.

Development of a strategy to redevelop the club utilising the footprint of the existing club in order:

  • to reduce environmental legislation triggers and avoid lengthy EIA processes
  • to reduce lengthy lease negotiations and approval processes with the municipality as the owner of the land
  • to enhance the sense of ownership as the club has contributed largely to the existing structure through fund raising efforts

The current accommodation schedule must be accommodated in the new structure and the additional needs of the growing clubs incorporated in the design (see accompanying documents).

Important factors in the design to consider:

  1. Sustainability – environmentally: energy saving measures
  2. Sustainability – economically: inclusion of space for tenants other than the lifesaving club and current offce users. This must also include space for informal trading
  3. Accommodation of issues around the dynamic sand dunes
    1. Possibilities for decommissioning parts of the structure to accommodate dune movement and erection of the new facility as a deconstruct able structure on a different part of the site
    2. Design of measures to contain dune movement – this item is highly contentious in environmental circles in terms of successes and failures
    3. Design to accommodate flooding and natural disasters

Life-saver Centre, Kings Beach, Port Elizabeth

As one of the design workshops offered by the Department of Architecture of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, this design pertained to the reconsideration of the existing life-saving facilities at King’s Beach.

In this instance the students – consisting of second year technology students as well as some architecture students at Honours and Master degree levels – were confronted with a “real” client and a realistic brief prepared by representatives of the life-saving club. The project was approached as an exercise in design methodology, with a concerted attempt made to demystify the elusiveness of the design process.

Introductory discussions focused on the four different design approaches, premised on the design aptitude profiles developed by Prof Jan Smit from the University of the Free State, which highlight the strengths and shortcomings of each. By being made aware of one’s design inclinations, one can much more consciously work at honing one’s skills and addressing one’s inadequacies.

Discussions also focused on the systemisation of the design process which is all too often intuitively driven.

To read the full article, please click here. To find the final presentaiton, click here.

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