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Dunoon sports complex and library - Cape Town scoops 2019 Human City Design Award

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The City of Cape Town’s Urban Sustainability Unit has won the 2019 Human City Design Award at a ceremony held in Korea. A team of City professionals designed the Dunoon sports complex and library, a project that demonstrates how compact urban design can improve and add to residents’ lives.

The Human City Design Award 2019 is an international award that recognises designers or groups that have contributed to building a more harmonious and sustainable relationship between residents and their environment, those tackling urban environmental issues, and those who present a new vision through creative design.

Dunoon Learning and Innovation Precinct

The Dunoon Learning and Innovation Precinct boasts a sports centre, which includes a skate park, and a state-of-the-art library which was opened by the City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato, in April 2019.

‘I am so excited about this award and proud of the City officials who worked on this for over three years. What makes this even more remarkable is that our project was designed and implemented by City professionals only. They have beaten entries from Italy, France, Finland, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, China, Vietnam, and Singapore,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

By scooping the 2019 Human City Design Award , the City has received prize money to the value of approximately R1,2 million.

‘The Learning and Innovation Precinct in Dunoon provides a blueprint for urban design in dense neighbourhoods. It demonstrates that it is possible to create a harmonious and sustainable relationship between the people and the urban environment; and that good design adds to the general well-being of the surrounding community. We will use the prize money to fund the next phase of the Dunoon project,’ said Alderman Nieuwoudt.

Given the ever changing and vibrant nature of this community, key to the design was to allow for the building to be permanent in appearance, but flexible enough to be repositioned, relocated or expanded upon in the future.

With the Sport’s Complex, the architects chose to use recycled shipping containers as the primary construction material, giving them new purpose. There is a surplus of shipping containers within our borders. (See photo above).

The design concept was primarily around the idea of giving new life to already existing materials, thus reducing the quantities of virgin building materials. Equally important, was to focus on the lifespan and lifecycle approach to the use of materials and resources: the building façade and structure can be reused or expanded by expanding or dismantling and repurposing the building and components to accommodate community future needs.

Given the socio-economic conditions and community views, the library forms part of a larger, future Learning and Innovation centre. It is more than just a library: it’s their ‘common living room’ – both a work space and an extension of their homes.

As such, the role of the library has evolved into a dynamic, multi-level environment for learning, pleasure and personal growth. It is an active agent in the social transformation.

Another high priority design feature was to maximize usable space, while still delivering on the community needs. Key to this was designing inherent competence that allows functional components to perform differently.

The City architects, motivated by the Cape Town - Aachen Partnership, submitted an entry for the Dunoon Project and more specifically the sports hall and newly completed library as part of the northern development of the ‘Learning and Innovation Precinct’.

More about the Learning and Innovation Precinct in Waxberry Street in Dunoon:
• Due to its height in the local context, the Library has a ‘light house’ effect, offering a symbol of hope for the future. It is the first phase of a larger Learning and Innovation Centre, that can support social and good governance objectives while minimising its impact on the environment.
• Vulnerable children, women and the elderly from the over 16 000 families in Dunoon do not have to travel over 7 kms to the nearest library anymore, but have a top quality facility in the heart of Dunoon, housing a variety of media to meet the needs of individuals or groups in terms of information and personal development, as well as a space for leisure and recreation.
• The library offers a safe space for residents, especially women and children, away from the dense and informal built environment, with an inspirational view from the roof.
• The library is also the first library that received multi-governmental support in not only capital, but also operational funding. This demonstrates the power of collaboration, and the agreement among partners, that this facility represents an example of sustainable development.
• The library already stimulated interest from International Partnerships (such as the Aachen Partnership) for future related projects, for example linking it to urban agriculture and food production, and business empowerment for women as a hub for training activities.
• The Sports Complex is now home to Dunoon’s growing sporting fraternity, offering children and young adults a place to run, kick and play either informally or formally. It can be extended, relocated or disassembled as the needs of the growing community changes. It can also offer related training opportunities for young men and women who want to pursue a career in sports administration/coaching.
• The precinct as a whole has been incorporated into the City’s programme for urban sustainability, and its impact can be translated to the rest of Cape Town as a multi-use, multi-owner programme.

WHERE: Learning and Innovation Precinct, Waxberry Street, Dunoon, Cape Town 7441

For more information about the 2019 Human City Design Award click here

See also MapMyWay