EMBRACING AFRICAN CULTURAL DESIGN THROUGH ARCHITECTURE

A rustic clay brick home south of Johannesburg designed for executive director of the Clay Brick Association of Southern Africa, Mariana Lamont, embraces passive design.

Bentel Associates International’s conceptual design of a 21-storey office tower in Lesotho features a glazed façade with a brise-soleil, or “veil”, inspired by the Basotho hat called the “Mokorotlo”.

Bentel Associates International has designed projects in various countries throughout the African continent, including: South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Mauritius, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The melting pot of various cultures that our continent is made up of, has been embraced in some of our designs by promoting a contemporary architectural language, whilst importantly also retaining and celebrating our strong African identity.

In Ghana, a country in West Africa, our Accra Conference Centre project is a new development which complements the existing hospitality offerings of the adjacent Le Meridian-branded hotel.

This conference centre blends the cultural heritage with bold contemporary designs in a unique product of world-class offering and sophistication.

The eight-storey hotel property, comprising 160-keys is a visual feast of contemporary luxury design from the moment of arrival. The design affords its influence from the local heritage elements of patterns, fabric and textures, which has been utilised on the curtain wall of the building and enhanced by the vibrant colour palette of blues and yellows which resemble that of the Kente cloth, a Ghanaian textile, as well as the rich vibrant culture of the area in Accra in which it’s situated.

Further south on the continent, Bentel’s conceptual design of a 21-storey office tower in Lesotho features a glazed façade which is protected from the harsh eastern and western sun with a brise-soleil, or “veil”, inspired by the Basotho hat called the “Mokorotlo” – a traditional hat that is a national symbol in Lesotho and also featured on their national flag.

We also look at one of the oldest heritage areas in north-west Johannesburg aptly called ‘The Cradle of Humankind’, where fossils and traces of early humans (or Hominids) were found. This is where the super-regional shopping complex, in the heart of Mogale City in Johannesburg’s West Rand, Cradlestone Mall is situated. It has a fresh retail mix and wide choice in nearly 200 shops, restaurants and services. Inspired by its close proximity to the World Heritage Site of the Cradle of Humankind, this was the starting point for the design philosophy which underpinned the concept while, at the same time, adhering to proven and functional retail flow and layout.

In the spirit of celebrating Heritage month, Bentel looks to appreciate not only the rich heritage that is in South Africa, but of all cultures throughout our wonderful continent and further exposing the influences that the various cultures have on building form and architecture.

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