Kuyasa North Transport Interchange
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Award for Architecture Citation
Kuyasa is a new station on the Khayelitsha line serving this historically marginalised and dislocated township of the City of Cape Town. Designed by Meyer + Vorster, and located at the 'end of the line', the project serves a number of purposes that are contributing toward the gradual spatial transformation of these isolated neighbourhoods.
A careful reading of site, through both its physical and experiential dimensions, has assisted in evolving what appears to be a resilient cultural artefact, capable of bridging the competing rationalities and demands that characterise South African township life.
Establishing a node within a sea of modernist RDP housing, this intervention provides a landmark destination to facilitate intermodal transit, local commerce and a place of meeting for local residents.
As a work of urban architecture, the project has configured routes and spaces to accommodate commuters and both formal and informal commercial and social opportunities. These have been distributed around a new mediating plaza forecourt. The combination of its scale, together with the generous layering of connecting routes should foster a vibrant civic life.
The thoughtful urbanism is complemented by robust detailing and selection of materials. Providing both visual balance and robust utility, this project is recognised for its contribution within a difficult arena of contested and competing demands by client, community and assigned users.
Kuyasa Station precinct has contributed an important example of integrated design in a landscape of mediocrity. As a new civic project its design and implementation demonstrate both the necessity and possibility of co-production between public and private realms through urban design and architecture. This project establishes an important benchmark for future emulation and interpretation, particularly within the townships.
(PrArch - The Cape Institute for Architecture. Vol 13 October 2011)
Award of Merit Citation
The project constitutes the design of a new transport interchange and urban node at the new Kuyasa Station in Khayelitsha. It includes a new taxi rank to formalise the old spatially informal taxi drop off and pick up space, as well as the appropriation and reorganisation of on-street trade into dignified, secure lockable trading stalls. Perhaps, most edifying are the substantially equipped ablutions within a re-landscaped urban setting either side of the railway line.
The buildings have been designed as unpretentious and robust facilities, in an architectural language that is dignifying and humane. This affirms an attempt by the architects to provide a culturally receptive built environment, from which the community can derive pride and collective identity.
The building presents itself as a physical and experiential space/square that is articulated, textured and coloured to achieve a culturally animated transport terminus. This design approach lends itself to be a contemporary phenomenon on how to humanise public transport in South African townships. The project manifests, as urban architecture that considers it's setting, as a platform onto which both formal and informal activities in commercial and public mobility can occur and develop through time. This appropriation of the informal sector, that is a dominant feature in South African townships, is clearly demonstrated by an attention-to-detail scribed in the way thresholds - platforms, pavements, structure and circulation - have been articulated. Further merit is attributed to the clear legibility and definition of an otherwise congested space and place.
All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.