Tuesday, March 24, 2009



Zoo Lake _ node 14

When I have a moment, probably next week, I will post the mapping that led to this site intervention. The site is the Zoo Lake Park. Based on an extensive mapping and layering exercise, 22 sites nodes have been identified and programmed. This is site 14.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Zoo Lake Gestrure Articulation

This is a summary of the programme being put together for the Zoo Lake Project.

Friday, March 13, 2009

[PITCH] programme (please excuse the lack of photos for now)


Site observations:

Through observation, one has noted that essentially there are two types of soccer. The one type is a soccer that is on a lined out pitch with 11 players per side. This soccer is usually organised, and occurs within designated venues. The other type of soccer is spontaneous. This soccer has no rules regarding team sizes, goal dimensions, and does not penalise the odd supporter that chooses to become a spontaneous player for a few minutes. The pitch is determined by a found shoe, extra shirt, stationary bin and a large stone that just happened to be there. When one chooses to explore the spontaneity along with the cultural activation enticed by soccer, one feels that the second of the two types is indicative of this philosophy. This is not to negate the importance and monumental contribution made to soccer by the first type (as ultimately the 20 A side teams are emulating those professional teams).

When considering the Zoo Lake Sports Field Complex, one feels that despite the stated intention of being a “public space” which is open to all. Boundary fences, rentable fields, and exclusive games of p├ętanque create the very tangible impression that you are in a defined private public space. One needs permission, or at least to conform to the timetable (that one needs to pay to get onto) to use the space that was once so generously given to all by Herman Eckstein in 1904. The counter argument to the proposed statement is that without a level of exclusivity, the fields would not be maintained to a sufficient level. This is a valid argument, considering that when the Johannesburg municipality “ran” the site, it was overgrown and more of a public problem than a public space. One feels that a balance should be sought. Perhaps the commercial validity of the site can continue while allowing public movement and access through the site to tie into the fabric of the Zoo Lake Park as a whole.

One realises that it is naive to think that the provided facilities could function without establishing set soccer/sport fields. They do have to celebrate the Type 1 soccer game. There is a business that maintains the existing sports facility and imposing utopian ideologies of 20 A-side soccer games that allow anyone to use and subsequently damage the fields would be improper. The space where these impromptu large-scale games takes place already has a space. The Zoo Lake Park plays host to many soccer games. Some games have many players and some have few. Some play on flat ground and others on slopes. It seems unnecessary to impose ideology onto a site that already has an intention when that ideology is achieved in other parts of the park. One feels that although through architectural intervention and urban design principles, one can merge the two games and envelope the entire Zoo Lake Complex into one harmonious site.

Through further exploration, it has been exposed that key activities within the park itself could serve as a catalyst for the spine intervention that will run throughout the site. Rather than create the classical “ring” walkway guiding the park goer through the park, walkways that rise and fall through the site will subliminally link together to encourage movement towards the “public square”. These intervention will look at activity happening in a given area, and provide facility, space, and convenience for the park patron. General facilities will be included in all the landscape walkway, but focus will be concentrated on contextual activity.

In brief: The intention of the programme is to provide sustainable commercial validity to key nodes on the Zoo Lake Soccer Fields Site (some already exist) and bridge the Park as a public space to the fields in an attempt to create an all encompassing site. Through engagement with activity in the park itself, walkways that rise and fall throughout the park will link together to create a harmonious spine that is neither inclusive nor exclusive. Focus of the architectural and urban design interventions will gather at a “public square” typology, which will be used for larger events.


Re-activate the Zoo Lake sports field complex as a public space.

Draw people from Westwold Street to the sports fields, and subsequently encourage movement from the sports fields to the central “Public Space typology”. Movement will be encouraged from the Zoo Lake grounds towards the “Public Space typology”. The movement isn’t intended to be mono-directional. It is envisaged that the flow will continue throughout the park and fields activating all aspects with subliminal focus on the public space.

Provide commercial revenue for the upkeep, maintenance and development of the fields and surrounding facilities.

Discussing the needs of the Sports Fields Administration with Jeanette Wallace, she established that the following interventions are needed:

· Formal storage space. This space needs to be quite large. As the Sports Fields are used by a number of organisations, storage space is required for much equipment. Equipment ranges from goal posts and nets, flags, balls, bats, commercial signs and banners, and kit. Formal storage space: 80sqm

· The set ambition for the Soccer Fields is to acquire a commercial lawnmower/tractor. A garage for the tractor will be needed. Attached to the garage will be a workshop for general maintenance and repair, and storage room for other site maintenance tools. Garage: 40sqm Workshop: 20sqm Storage Room: 20sqm

· Despite the viewing deck at the sports bar, Jeanette stated that additional sports watching spaces would be ideal. This correlates with the findings established in the mapping of people around the field. Often team reserves, family members of players, along with other supporters choose to be close to the field during the match and not on the wooden viewing deck by the sports bar. Sport watching space: 30sqm

· An area dedicated to vermicompost would be ideal as vegetable waste produced from the restaurant could be transformed into compost. This would help in the maintenance of the fields, in addition to saving revenue. Depending on the quantity produced, there may be excess to be sold to the nursery. Vermicompost: 30sqm

Sport Supply and Storage spaces

Interventions that I feel should be explored include:

· A small sport store. This store will stock standard sports equipment used at the fields. Rent for the store in addition to profit shares from the store can go towards the upkeep of the fields. Small sport store: 84sqm

· Through observation and discussion, it has been established that the male sportsmen choose to change into their sports kit on the field despite provided change rooms. Small change rooms with lockers can be provided. These change rooms will not have toilets, or showers as there are such facilities provided by the sports field already. Small change room with lockers: 10sqm

· As mentioned by Mutombo Kitenge in his mapping exercise, Teressa Gapp states, “Parks need to be open, Emmerentia Park is closed off and barely gets people on the site, and hence fencing makes the parks more unsafe and unused”. As the fields are also surrounded by fences, the intention would be to remove them. This would be naive if no hierarchy of space and boundary is expressed. Change of level along with canopy devices should be explored to define the space as being secure, but public.

· On the Southern side of the sports fields, there needs to be a boundary to express the fields as a definitive space, but not as an exclusive one. Similar interventions utilised to remove the boundary fence could be adapted to create a semi permeable boundary between the park and the fields. Again the intention is define space and not to become exclusive.

· As the complex is part of a municipal park, It is felt that there should be some intention to protect the visual connection to green space, and not clutter the landscape with hard visual buildings.

· A walkway linking the existing “blomspot” nursery will run into the Zoo Lake Park towards Moyo, bringing Moyo Patrons towards the nursery once they are done there. The walkway differs from the generic walkway running through the park as it becomes an active living flower walkway maintained by the nursery itself.


This reactivation of the Zoo Lake Sports Fields should not be to the detriment of the Zoo Lake Park as a whole. One could argue that while any form of architectural or urban intervention could stimulate the Zoo Lake Sports Fields, the park as an urban fabric might be diminished. With this as a delicate parameter for the project, the following intentions are set up for the park itself.

Activity Node on the Movement Spine

A “spine” of activity should be explored to move through the park. The intention is to activate movement from the southern end of the park, the lake itself, and Moyo towards the sports field complex, but allow existing activity to continue. The spine will provide a main pathway with nodes that celebrate existing sports and activities that occur in the park. These nodes will include;

· Capoeira

· Vending stores with people that roam the park, as is currently done.

· Informal volleyball court

· 20 A-side soccer courts. In other words, soccer pitches that do not conform to the conventional rules of soccer. They are spaces that celebrate the impromptu nature of soccer.

· A Notion of a “public” square that could act as a performance space. This space should be close to the Sports fields

· Picnic nodes that allow for a more established picnic spaces (This does not intend to nullify the spontaneous picnic, rather to provide spaces for them)

· Public toilets (through discussion with visitors to the park, it was ascertained that a negative connotation is felt towards the existing toilets). New contemporary toilets intertwined into the movement spine would provide a sense of security when utilising those facilities.

· Shaded areas for general use.

· Covered areas to escape rain.

The Zoo Lake Park is split by an access road that runs from Westwold Way through the park via Moyo to Lower Park Drive. One feels that this is a severe visual boundary and is playing a great part in isolating the Fields from the Park. It is felt that removing this road will allow a mergence of the two entities together. As a result parking will have to be relocated to other areas closer to the transport nodes already mapped out.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Art with crayons

I think this is quite brilliant!!!

The artist is Chrstian Faur.

From 2 Modern Design