Although the buildings, the people, the flora and fauna all seem to occupy the same spaces and interact on a daily basis, those interactions don't speak of any inter-connectivity. The site requires a inter-connectedness, similar to the symbiosis that exists in natural ecosystems.
Ecological Design at its core speaks of harnessing the flows of energies and matter in an ecosystem and allowing those flows to create a more efficient and sustainable system.
Ken Yeang describes ecological design as a well integrated prosthesis. This notion of any ecological intervention attempting to mimic nature as being prosthetic seemed to exemplify what was needed in this proposal.
The brief was set by the Saint Gobain Design Competition www.saint-gobaindesignhub.co.za and required the format to be in four A1 sheets.
The proposal calls for the buildings to be interdependently linked to create an urban ecosystem that re-assimilates the fabric of JHB's decaying urban center.
The presentation is intended to critique the existing urban ecology and re-inter grate the existing elements into an interdependant and sustainable ecosystem.
The Carleton Center
The Carlton Center retains its Commercial function, drawing income and global stature as the tallest building in Africa.
The Carlton Hotel provides housing for those society has forgotten and discarded. Under a social re-integration program, those living here are housed at minimal cost while providing the services to maintain the facility.
Those under the social program benefit from being taught valuable skills within the Learning Center provided by the building adjacent the hotel.
The Skyrink Building acts as a sorting and storage point for all recyclable matter. This recyclable material is re-manufactured within the existing shopping complex and sold back to the community by the people working under the program. This is part of the skills development program and provides those under it practical experience.
The street plaza is to be greened and provide space within and around it for the previous shopping complex's tenants, creating a more outdoor market and activating the space around the complex.
The basement parking levels are to be used to store and treat water from rainwater harvesting and grey water systems which would serve the complex.
A more detailed analysis of the Carlton Center, and its re-adaptive plan.
Post Crit: Although the idea of re-assimilating all aspects of society is sound, the placement of a recycling sortment facility in an urban CBD was not received well.
The removal of an existing, viable shopping complex was also criticised while more emphasis on the Carlton Center itself was recommended.
The phrase 'Back to the drawing board' as well 'You're trying to con us with your wordsmithery and emotive imagery' were also used. The designer is still not sure what either of these mean in the context of the presentation and has chosen to interpret these in his own manner...