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URBAN DESIGN PROJECTS

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MELROSE ARCH 

Location
Johannesburg, Gauteng,

South Africa

Date

1997 - Present 

Client

Sentinel Mining Industry Retirement Fund and later AMDEC 

Project Value

ZAR 4 Billion 

Osmond Lange was approached by the Sentinel Mining Industry Retirement Fund in 1996 to create the brief, design and co-deliver (in association with Arup) the first phase of the Melrose Arch development. The client requirement was to create nodal property investment of lasting quality that would stand the test of time. Although primarily envisaged as an office park, it is the incorporation of a wide range of mixed uses that gives Melrose Arch its life. 

Since the occupation of the first offices at Melrose Arch in late 2001, the new ‘town within a town’ has established itself not only as Johannesburg’s premier office address, but just a great place to be, meet for lunch or dinner, live, stay over, workout, and do business.

From the outset, Osmond Lange’s vision was to successfully fulfill our client’s wish - to create a development that would arouse interest, where the public would want to be, all of which would add to its sustainable financial success. 

In a civic society, the public spaces define the ethos of that community. Commerce is what brings a city to life; the ground plane of a city is where it all happens. The thing that most differentiates Melrose Arch is the Third or Public Space. If the first place is your home, the second is where you work, then the thrid place is the neutral ground; the empty stage where real connection occurs. 

The space between the buildings becomes the positive space, with the building facades forming the boundaries. Osmond Lange were responsible for the design and execution of the urban fabric at Melrose Arch. The concept that the pedestrian is more important that the motor vehicle is the philosophy that predominates the design. 

 

WUHAN DAQIAO CITY PLAZA 

Location

Wuhan, China 

Date

Completed 2009 

Project Value

Multi-Billion

The emphasis of this scheme is on the cohesive design and control of the public realm, rather than treating it as a leftover space between buildings or ‘developments’. This will require rigorous definition, allowing architectural variety within a rigid structure, ultimately creating a walkable, vibrant, compact, mixed use community. 

The aims of urban design are as follows: 

  • Create a coherent, holistic, single vision with easily understood principles that can guide the development coopeartion, when confronted with a broad range of problems from investor requirements to site specific issues. 

  • Provide a clearly defined urban model which allows no grey areas of uncertainty. 

  • Establish a clear understanding of what the public environment looks like and how that can be translated into a sense of identity. 

  • Create an environment that is safe and secure for tenants and visitors alike. Urban form plays a vital role in providing a protected realm. 

  • Allow development flexibility, ensuring a structure that can respond to changing markets and requirements. 

  • Maximise the social exchange of all users through urban form. 

  • Create an environment that promotes ease of movement for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. 

  • To propose lead projects and suggest phasing methods to ensure a holistic approach throughout the lifespan of the project. 

  • To pay particular attention to landscaped open space and its use. 

 

NEW CANADA STATION PRECINCT DEVELOPMENT 

Location

New Canada,

Gauteng, South Africa 

Date

April 2014 

Client

Blue Bantry Consortium 

Collaborators

Creative Axis & 

Indigo-Kulani Architects 

The Station Square 

The existing station and the area immediately surrounding it will be re-developed to create a public square, bounded on three sides (North, West, and East) by retail on the ground floor, and offices/medical suites on the three floors above. A vibrant and safe communal space will be created in one phase. An Intermodal transport interchange with the Rea Vaya and local taxis takes place immediately adjacent to the south of the square. Existing Pedestrian Bridges allow the safe passage of commuters across New Canada Road to the Rea Vaya Station, and Pennyville residential area on the other side. 

A magistrate’s court has been planned immediately to the east of the station, prior to this planning exercise, which is unfortunate as it is fenced off and surrounded by landscaping, with very little public interaction, active facades, or public space definition. 

The Residential Neighbourhood 

The bulk of the available PRASA land is situated to the east of the Magistrates Court. A strong pedestrian route is envisaged between the Station and the Residential Neighbourhood adjacent to the Magistrates Court Fence. A controlled street market is envisaged to line the boundary of the Court facing onto a generous sidewalk. 

The Residential Apartment Buildings consist of 4 storey walk-ups (Ground plus 3) arranged in a ‘defensible perimeter block’ form around a central landscaped private courtyard. The streets become well-defined and well overlooked public spaces, which, while being used for vehicular access and parking, will be designed as a shared space, with the safety of pedestrians and children as the top priority. Although the perimeter block layout ensures a high degree of passive security, the layout is designed to allow for a perimeter fence between the main East-West service road, and the apartments if necessary. 

A small amount of formal convenience retail is allowed for at the main vehicle entrance off New Canada Road, outside the security line in order provide a service to the wider neighbourhood. 

Secure access to the residential neighbourhood is achieved with gates and booms. While the whole premise of a ‘Transit–Oriented Development’ is that private vehicles are less of a necessity, it appears that there is still a fairly high parking requirement in similar neighbourhoods. Residents tend to leave their cars at home when commuting to work, however use their vehicles on evenings and weekends. For this reason, as much parking as possible is located adjacent to the units as ‘street parking’. Additional overflow parking is shown in diagramatic form below the current 1:100 year flood line to the east end of the site. 

A Dense, walkable community has been created in extreme close proximity to the New Canada station and intermodal interchange. All daily needs will be within a maximum 10 minute walking distance for those housed in the most remote units. A highly sustainable alternative to sprawling, land-hungry, socially bankrupt ‘housing schemes’, which is perfect alignment with the aims of the City of Johannesburg, and PRASA.