Corobrik recognises landscape architecture

In the pursuit of creating sustainable cities, the value of Landscape Architects in creating urban environments people appreciate and desire to live in, is now undisputed. This has been borne out of the economic success of so many well conceived new and urban renewal projects undertaken in major cities and tourist towns around the world – Cape Town being just one good example. Successful urban design, the combination of hard landscaping elements (paving, walls and structures) and soft elements (plants, shrubs, grassed areas) to compliment what is there and provide context and impetus to the architecture still to come, begins with the Landscape Architect.

 

It was in recognition of the importance and value Landscape Architects have made, and will continue to make towards more sustainable cities in South Africa that Corobrik considered it fitting to extend its Awards Programme for final year Architecture Students to Landscape Architecture students. This was done in the form of a special award of R7000.00 for “The Most Innovative Final Year Landscape Architecture Project’ in Cape Town, the key criteria for this award being innovation and creativity as it finds expression in a final year master’s thesis project.

 

The 2011 award went to UCT graduate and member of the city of Cape Town’s urban design branch, Ancunel Steyn, for her project Sepulchre Landscape which takes an integrated, experiential approach to rethinking burial and burial grounds.

 

Steyn’s Sepulchre Landscape was designed as a public space much like a square, a park or a conservation area that is multifunctional. In contrast, existing cemeteries are often monofunctional with limited possibilities for future diversification of use.“A sepulcher landscape should be a place that engages the soul and embraces the spirit of the living, encouraging reflection and respect. Instead, cemeteries are usually places that reflect stagnation, separation and isolation rather than positioning death and mortality as an integral part of everyday life. Cemeteries are exiled to the outskirts of a city, divorced from the lives of the living and perceived as dead landscapes that don’t appeal to the senses of the visitor, create a meaningful experience or even provide a comfortable environment,” she explains.

Steyn challenged this, pointing out that, historically, cemeteries were used as parks and were synonymous with churches and the main roads of villages. “I investigated how a space can better relate to a ‘living’ landscape than to a ‘dead’ one and explored abstract concepts such as memory, death, love, mourning and healing through poetry and a visual translation where emotion that resulted from a personal loss is transformed into design.”

In embracing the more esoteric considerations, she ultimately interrogated the more functional issues – how a place such as this could be integrated with the wider urban fabric. “The vision of the sepulcher landscape addresses burial space limitations by making sepulcher landscapes hybrid open spaces. This award is important to me because it shows that others appreciate my work, innovative approach and comments on how we treat our open spaces,” she said.

Corobrik Manager, Western Cape, Christie van Niekerk said it was fitting that this new Landscape Architecture award for a final year student should be born in Cape Town, a city where Corobrik clay pavers have enjoyed such wide expression in the beautification of Cape Town. While it is evident that our clay pavers have addressed the practical concerns of durability, longevity and low maintenance it is rewarding to witness how they have been able to transform dull areas into creative artworks. While contrasting pavers and patterns have been used effectively to draw awareness and guide people through public spaces their inherent rich earthy colours and textures sit unobtrusively in the green landscapes complimenting the overall look and feel of the urban landscape.

Steyn’s design makes extensive use of de Hoop Red piazza pavers which both enhanced and contrasted with other materials such as re-used brick (a metaphor for deterioration and symbolic of the ageing process), metal, corten, exposed aggregate pavers and concrete.

Steyn said the vivid red of the de Hoop pavers encompassed all the traditional symbolism of the colour red – blood, warning, love, passion and war. “Red can be seen in the transition period between summer and winter. Red warns of what is to come but also contributes to a rich and positive experience of the physical world and a strong portrayal of the metaphysical. The red brick warns of one’s immortal nature and stands in between life and death.”

 

CAPTIONS:

 

Ancunel Steyn

The Most Innovative Final Year Landscape Architecture Project’ has been awarded to Ancunel Steyn from the University of Cape Town for her project ‘Sepulchre Landscape.’ The key criteria for this award are innovation and creativity as they find expression in a final year master’s thesis project. Ancunel is pictured with Senior Lecturer Clinton Hindes, Convenor: Masters of Landscape Architecture Programme at the University of Cape Town and Christie van Niekerk Corobrik Manager Western Cape. The award was sponsored by Corobrik.

 

Thesis illustrations:

Ancunel Steyn’s winning entry Sepulchre Landscape which was her final year thesis in which which she takes an integrated, experiential approach to rethinking burial and burial grounds.

Corobrik made an award for “The Most Innovative Final Year Landscape Architecture Project’ in Cape Town, the key criteria for this award being innovation and creativity as it finds expression in afinal year master’s thesis project.

Steyn’s design makes extensive use of de Hoop Red piazza pavers which both enhanced and contrasted with other materials such as re-used brick (a metaphor for deterioration and symbolic of the ageing process), metal, corten, exposed aggregate pavers and concrete.

, , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply