The Beginnings of Architecture: An Urban Design Framework For A Mixed-Use Development Associated With The Goreangab Dam, Windhoek, Namibia

CompanyLouw & Dewar In Assocation
Lead DesignerLouw and Dewar in Association
Design TeamPiet Louw, Dave Dewar, Riaan Louw & Anton Roux
PrizeSilver in Landscape Architecture / Urban Design

The site is a large one (some 92.5 hectares) located to the north of Windhoek, Namibia, on the eastern edge of Katutura, the largest, almost exclusively low income, neighbourhood of the city. The brief called for the creation of an unique mixed-use, mixed-income development which could act as a catalyst generating spontaneous regeneration in Katutura by encouraging upwardly mobile people to remain in the area. A package of plans approach was adopted. Concepts were developed at different scales, with the higher order scales providing the first level of fixes for the scales below – it is a process of continuing refinement. In this case, three scales were utilized: the city (which involves integrating the site into broader urban and natural systems); the site; and precinct plans for smaller areas within the site. Precinct plans are accompanied by minimalist architectural controls (which are mandatory) and guidelines, to ensure that each building contributes to the spatial quality of the whole. The framework is strongly performance driven. Performance qualities includes uniqueness; sustainability; efficiency; equity and social justice; integration; safety and security; resilience; and maximizing choice. The primary urban design principles include: • Ordering the site not by roads, but by a system or family of interlocking spaces and streets; • Scaling the development to the pedestrian and NMT; while still accommodating the car; • Promoting efficient public transport; • Using buildings to scale and define public space; • Creating a truly public ‘waterfront’; • Creating the pre-condition for small economic enterprises to flourish; • Maximizing views and opportunities for passive recreation which serve the whole city; • Making the development truly Namibian by designing for its hot, dry climate, creating shade and using indigenous materials and vegetation; • Spatially announcing gateways; • Ensuring surveillance over public space;