Nasrec, Johannesburg, South Africa
Client: City of Johannesburg
Architects: Boogertman Urban Edge + Partners, Populous
Landscape Architects: Uys and White
Structural Engineers: PDNA Consulting Engineers, Schlaich Bergermann & Partners
Civil Engineers: Phumelela Africa Professional Engineers
Contractors: Grinaker-LTA/ BAM International, The Aveng Group, BAM International
Project Managers: Phumelela Africa Professional Engineers
A Calabash, one of the symbols of rural African life, was the inspiration for this massive stadium – the flagship venue for the FIFA World Cup 2010. The largest stadium in Africa, with a seating capacity of 94,700, this stadium hosted several matches, including both the opening match and the final.
Cuurently home to the South African Football Federation, the stadium, formerly known as the FNB stadium underwent a major upgrade for the 2010 tournament, with a new design inspired by the shape of an African pot. Designed by the South African architects Boogertman + Partners in collaboration with Populous, construction started in February 2007 and was completed in October 2009. The cladding on the outside is a mosaic of fire and earthen colours with a ring of lights running around the bottom of the structure, simulating fire underneath the pot.
The upgrade included: an extended upper tier around the stadium to increase the capacity to tournament capacity of 88,958an additional 2 executive suites, an encircling roof, new changing room facilities and new floodlights. The number of suites in the stadium was increased to 195.
Project architect, Bob van Bebber of Boogertman Urban Edge, discusses the design below.
Van Bebber describes building the stadium as an almost vertical learning curve in this interview.
More about the stadium here.
The Royal Netherlands Embassy complex lies amidst the urban sprawl on the southern outskirts of Addis Ababa, occupying a five-hectare steeply sloping site, enclosed within a dense eucalyptus grove. The guiding principle of this architectural collaboration between Ethiopian and Dutch designers was to preserve and respect the topography of the surrounding landscape while addressing the functional requirements of a working embassy. They took care to maintain existing contour lines and leave the vegetation and wildlife undisturbed.
Located at the centre of the site are the chancery and ambassador’s residence. The landscape cuts through the building and separates the two functions. At this point the road sunk into the landscape intersects the building and descends to the covered visitor entrance to the ambassador’s residence.
The main building, an elongated horizontal volume, cuts across the sloping terrain on an east– west axis. Walls, floors and ceilings are pigmented the same red-ochre as the Ethiopian earth and are uniformly composed of concrete, creating the effect of a cave-like space, reminiscent of the rock-hewn architecture of Lalibela, Ethiopia. By contrast, the roof garden with its network of shallow pools alludes to a Dutch water landscape.
An unashamedly contemporary and simple organization of spaces the Dutch Embassy in Addis Ababa overcomes the complexities of security and surveillance normally associated with the design of embassy compounds, intersecting with the landscape to create new and unexpected relationships with the host site — a walled eucalyptus grove in the city. The massif architecture, at once archaic and modern, belongs as much to the Muslims, Christians and the indigenous tribes of Ethiopia as it does to its Dutch homeland.
In its conception and daily operation, the building responds to its social and physical context with inventive design and poetic sensibility. This is an architecture that works with its environment, reducing the use of mechanical services and relying instead on natural ventilation and high insulation. The project’s sensitivity to process has left its mark in the raw character of its formation – another delicate reminder of how buildings, as formations of material culture, can register and enhance spaces of encounter.
A new European embassy in Africa is often an imposed (or at least imported) affair, using materials and human resources brought from outside. The Dutch Embassy in Addis Ababa is different. It was realised entirely by local contractors, using the only widely available local construction material, concrete, coupled with Ethiopian stone and timber for the interior finishes. The brief required new buildings for the ambassador’s residence, chancellery and staff housing, and the renovation of the existing deputy ambassador’s house. Along the way (the project took eight years to realise) a small school was added to the programme.
Gando Primary School
Gando, Burkina Faso
Architect: Diébédo Francis Kéré
A recipient of a 2004 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the story behind Diébédo Francis Kéré‘s design for the Primary School in Gando, Burkina Faso is even more fascinating that the building itself. It is a story of philanthropy, the importance of education, local tradition and skills, and one man’s desire to make it all happen.
Architect Francis Kéré is the first person from Gando – a small town about 200 km (125 miles) from the country’s capital Ouagadougou – to study abroad, choosing to pursue an architectural degree in Berlin. Believing that his hometown needed a good school facility, Kéré set up a fund-raising association (Bricks for the Gando School) with friends and eventually received support from the Burkina Faso government organization LOCOMAT to train masons in the technique of compressed earth. In effect the building’s undertaking is a mix of local and international components, the latter helping to fund the project though thankfully not influencing its form; rather local climatic concerns are the greatest form-giver.
The simple plan arranges three classrooms linearly, broken by covered outdoor areas. The classrooms are separated by covered exterior teaching spaces, that link the building to the surrounding landscape. A corrugated metal roof hovers above the load-bearing walls of compressed earth, also used for the ceiling. The roof, wall and ceiling construction all allow for cooling of the interior, an important consideration in Gando. The heavy block work ceilings, walls and beaten earth floors make use of the materials thermal mass in moderating internal temperatures. A wind channel has been formed between the roof and ceiling to expell hot air, drawing in fresh air at low level.Commonly found industrial materials have been carefully used to create a simple yet poetic piece of architecture.
From the Aga Khan website: “All the people involved in the project management were native to the village, and the skills learned here will be applied to further initiatives in the village and elsewhere. The way the community organized itself has set an example for two neighbouring villages, which subsequently built their own schools as a cooperative effort. The local authorities have also recognized the project’s worth: not only have they provided and paid for the teaching staff, but they have also endeavoured to employ the young people trained there in the town’s public projects, using the same techniques.”
The community cohesion and project management has demonstrated to local villages the benefits in using local building techniques and inspired them to complete their own projects. A second phase has recently been completed and provides teachers accommodation. As with the first phase, it has been managed and built by local people
The Freelon Adjaye Bond design team, which linked up with SmithGroup in D.C., has the winning design for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Its angular basket-shape appearance has a copper exterior that changes color as the day progresses.
The video below is the animation the team presented to the jury during the selection process. It gives an impressively detailed look inside the proposed design.
The author of the book “African Fractals”, ethno mathematician Ron Eglash examines the way many African villages are purposely laid out to form perfect fractals, using patterns underpinning architecture, art, and design.
“When Europeans first came to Africa, they considered the architecture very disorganized and thus primitive. It never occured to them that the Africans might have been using a form of mathematics that they hadn’t discovered yet…”