“The Board’s expectations have been wildly exceeded by the presentations attended recently and it is with great excitement that we move forward with this project [in 2019]”.

 
Carel Venter, Point Discovery Centre Board of Directors, Chairman

PROJECT OVERVIEW

 
The project is the design for a new human origins interpretation centre at the Point in Mossel Bay. The need for the centre has arisen out of the recent discoveries of artefacts made in the nearby cave, PP13B, at Pinnacle Point, and give significant insight into our intellectual development and human origins. The university was approached by the Point Discovery Centre Board (PDCB), who has been tasked with the realisation of the new interpretation
centre, to generate potential ideas and to create hype around this exciting project. The 2nd year design studio at the Nelson Mandela University School of Architecture (NMUSoA) took on the challenge for the design of the building and the engagement facilitated by NMU Engagement Office Director, Prof. George De Lange. The primary aspirations of the PDCB are to develop a place to exhibit, educate, and facilitate further research around these significant findings; and in its boldest ambitions to create a “centre that will reconnect us with our environment; and that will reconnect us with each other through our shared, ancient heritage” (www.pointdiscoverycentre.com).
 
Discussions between the design studio and the client (PDCB), revealed five key objectives within loose site and accommodation requirements. These issues have been the driving force behind exploratrions and the generation of the architecture:
 
1. Engage architecturally with our human origins.
2. Create a “national attraction” that mediates exhibition, learning and research, through rich and memorable architectural experiences.
3. The production of an architecture that is environmentally conscious.
4. Create a platform for state-of-the-art digital exhibition techniques.
5. Create a centre that can generate income to assist with the facilities operational costs.
 

 

THE PROJECT PROCESS

 
The project went through four stages: research, urban design, individual proposals and consolidated schemes, which were exhibited from the 31 October - 5 November 2018. The first phase involved going to the site, research and liaising with the PDCB on the ambitions of the project. This was followed by Urban design proposals for the Mossel Bay Point (the area around the site) that explored architectural “field conditions” as a pedagogical theme and allowed students to engage with the greater context of Mossel Bay as a warmer to the actual architectural project. The third phase saw students beginning to pool ideas through individual design proposals, which then set the foundation for the final stage of the project. The final stage of the project articulated the different potential site strategies that had emerged out of the individual stage, and students voted to select 8 final schemes that were further explored, reworked and refined in teams.
 
In the end, the result a co-ordinated, managed, refined and presented constellation of ideas, driven through the use of the physical architectural model as a pivotal tool in the design process. The level of engagement, enthusiasm, dedication and performance of the students has undoubtedly been a highpoint in my own experience of the project. An intense process which has inevitably left us all weary, yet injected with an unshakable love for the game.
 
 
PROJECT TEAM 
 
Design Studio Head: 
John Andrews
 
2nd Year Student Project Teams:
 
FISH-TRAPS: Francois de Kock, Daniel Fouche, Hilke Horsthemke, Luvuyo Mjuleni, Zara Poorun
 
CA[R]VED MASS: Cameron Dustan, Zavian Klaasen, Anli Steyn, Alexi Tsiotsiopolous, Bermatt Viljoen
 
THE SHEPHERD: Vicky Bezuidenhout, Ferdinand Burger, Michael Landman, Grace Mayberry, JP Strydom
 
THE NOMAD: Neil Devine, Gert Duvenhage, Sinothando Hlalukana, Gabrielle van Antwerpen, Marilene Vermaak
 
SHELL MIDDENS: Kelsey Rae Cawood, Bayanda Dlamini, Delise Botha, Chanel Kelsey, Maretha Davids
 
THE SHARD: Natasha Botma, Natasha de Lange, Hardus Pretorius, Julia Thomas, Hlomla Xauka
 
SPACE OF PAST LANDSCAPES: Nicola Verwey, James Ferriera, Aletta West, Qhama Ncoyo, Adrien Rivalland
 
CAST SHELLS: Cari Brundyn, Tahrene de Vos, Megan Hobbs, Hermien Muller, Asanda Zitumane