A blend of 100 000 nutmeg piazza and onyx pavers used to create an iconic public square that forms part of the first phase of the new Sol Plaatjie University development in Kimberley, has seen Corobrik leave its mark on one of the most exciting new projects for 2013.
The square, where the official sod turning for the new tertiary institution took place at the beginning of September 2013, was essentially the pilot or launch project. Currently located in the middle of a sports field, it will ultimately act as a “middle space” between a number of new buildings which are currently under construction
They will be designed by some of the country’s foremost architects who were selected via the Sol Plaatje University architectural design competition which was run by the Department of Higher Education and Training this year.
Director General of the Department of Higher Education and Training, Mr Gwebinkundla Qonde was quoted as saying that, as the first university to be designed and built in post-democratic South Africa, the end product was expected to be iconic and inspirational, embodying the aspirations of the South African public. “It is also expected to reflect the essence of the university, which represents a new order of African intellect with a firm focus on innovation and excellence and the country’s powerful spirit of democracy, inclusiveness, growth and opportunity.”
The university, which has been named after struggle stalwart, Sol Plaatje, who resided in Kimberley is expected to be complete by 2015 at a final cost of R6 billion. It is ultimately expected to enroll 5 000 students with an initial intake of 150 at the beginning of 2014.
Corobrik’s commercial director, Musa Shangase, said that Corobrik was proud to be associated with a project of this calibre.
The Sol Plaatje University will occupy a combination of existing and purpose-built structures in the inner city of Kimberley including the present civic centre, parts of the Oppenheimer Gardens and surrounding buildings and the former Cape Provincial Administration building. The central and highly visible location in the inner city is expected to make the institution a landmark as well as prove extremely convenient.
The square measures 3 000 sq/m and is a multi use space that includes seating. The aesthetic is that of a gathering space with public art on display that serves not only as a linkage between the planned structures that will lead on to it but also amongst the people using it.
Nutmeg piazza and onyx pavers were mixed in a ratio 70:30 and, whereas, usually a herringbone pattern is used for projects of this nature, a stretcher bond pattern was used.
The simplest and the most frequently used pattern, stretcher bond tends to look more rectangular and pavers can be laid very accurately with perfect alignment and consistent joints for a very formal aesthetic. This bond suits designs where the eye does not need to be strongly led and works well with header courses – brick pavers running at right angles and in rows mixed in the same or contrasting colours.
Musa said that the use of pavers in the Sol Plaatje Square would not only enhance the surrounds but blend well with established, older buildings.
He said he expected these Corobrik pavers to remain a part of this important urban landscape for a long time to come given the colour fastness and naturally enduring qualities of the fired clay. He added that pavers were extremely durable, making them the perfect choice of a high traffic outdoor area such as this.
They are also skid resistant. In addition, clay pavers are easy to lay, easily recycled and can be ”unzipped” to gain access to underground services for repairs or maintenance and can then be “ rezipped” using the same bricks without leaving a “scar”, he noted.