Mapungubwe National Park
People:CRAFFORD and CRAFFORD ARCHITECTS: Architect
22°14'35.73" S 29°24'01.98" E Alt: 590m
The architects were required to design the facilities for a new National Park in an area previously without infrastructure, which had been declared a World Heritage Site in 2003. The area has not only an ecological diversity but is a centre of African civilization, famed for the site of the discovery of the Gold Rhino on Mapungubwe hill in1933. The project was to be realized with the aid of the DEAT Poverty Relief Fund.
The designs are for the entrance gate, Main Camp, Wilderness Camp and tented Camp, as well as various day visitor and viewing amenities.
The most important aspect of the design response was the guidance given by the architects in siting of facilities, reuse of brownfield sites, avoidance of extensive archaeological sites, reuse of existing fencing materials, reinterpretation of a vernacular technology and available skills and labour force into and executable architectural idiom of recognisable identity. In an area where water is scarce, water efficiency is also a concern and addresses in the design of services.
While all the planning relies on regular geometry which sometimes becomes restrictive, given the freedom of space, the complex breaks from what was typically associated with the facilities of the Parks board, namely a rondavel and lapa style.
The visitor, in meeting with the widely separated elements in a vast and diverse space, across time constructs in memory the spirit of a unique place assisted by the punctuation of architectural elements built on a leitmotif and synthesised into a continuous and harmonious theme, and that is meritorious.
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.
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