a multi storey parkade on the main campus, university of the free state
bloemfontein, south africa
The entrance to the main campus of the UFS on Nelson Mandela Drive, forms one of the gateway nodes into the city from the N1 motorway. There are no significant pedestrian access points to the campus (a phenomenon that is in the context of this project, significant in itself).
In what can be considered as the heart of the Main Campus, the Main Building is surrounded by several other buildings of significant historic and architectural importance. In this ‘core’ area, campus users should be encouraged to walk in order to enjoy the beautiful buildings, parks and lawns. Instead, a culture of driving across campus and parking as close as possible to destinations, has developed.To consolidate this tendency with the need for a more pedestrian-friendly environment, a new multi-storey parkade is to be built on the campus. This structure should fit in with the campus context and its own unique character, while pedestrian and vehicular circulation is also considered. The selected site is the existing parking area to the west of Dekaan Street, bordered by DF Malherbe Street.
An open competition was originally envisioned, to invite a wide range of possible architectural interventions. Unfortunately, the costs attached to such an approach proved prohibitive. When the possibility of involving architecture students in this project was raised, this was therefore enthusiastically welcomed by the UFS project development team. The multi-storey parkade architectural competition is an internal student design project that is geared at garnering input from a wide variety of viewpoints. The project will be monitored by the project architectural practice, Izuba InAfrica Architects.
The University of the Free State in its aim to further its image as an international university of academic and human advancement and excellence, has embarked on this project to improve the on-campus social interaction between all campus users. It is in essence an effort to allow for urban porosity and social integration, as part of the academic and human advancement and excellence ‘experience’.
The proposed project culminates as a mixed use structure that will not only serve as a car park, but has other uses incorporated into the structure such as a café on the northern side of the parkade and a taxi or bus drop-and-go facility by the Medical gate. It denotes a facility for the UFS where the pattern of use is expected to remain constant throughout the year. This facility must be able to handle high peak demands at certain events such as the Vryfees.
By centralizing much of the parking provision and developing under-utilised pedestrian routes, green places, and small congregational areas between the old and new buildings, the intervention contribute to the negation of the earlier impenetrable enclaves and endorse democratic gathering and association. Furthermore, because of its location along an active pedestrian route, the proposed parkade uses every possible opportunity to bring in natural light, both into the building and along the pedestrian route. It should also address the issue of safe and visible entry into the parkade.
The site lies to the east of DF Malherbe Road. The land is currently being used as a parking facility, accommodating parking for 760 students & visitors and 180 staff members. No site conditions are present, with a basic knowledge that the soil comprises of sand, rocks and clay. The site slopes from the North to the South with a 9m fall. Current access to the site runs off Dekaan Street with two entrances to the student parking and 1 entrance to the staff parking. No entrances to the site come off DF Malherbe street. There is record of cables and sewage pipes running through the site.
Prefered Structurel Material: In-situ concrete rather the prefab concrete, for the skin of the parametric facades as well as the sloping ramps. The client’s views on the use of materials ranges from concrete to steel construction methods (Open to anything structurally sound) and it has thus been decided to combine the use of steel and concrete. (Steel columns & beams, Concrete slabs). Good ventilation is experienced through the parkade. Good circulation, as there is a constant two-way ramp which allows the user to leave or turn around at any moment. The client has no preferred choice between a completely underground structure, completely above ground structure or a mixture of the two. The parkade comprises of an underground and above ground structure.
© Jaun van Wyk