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MDS Architecture has designed an 11,500 m2 shopping centre in Flagstaff, Eastern Cape for developers McCormick Property Development (MPD). The development has a massive catchment area and Flagstaff is known in the area as somewhat of a trading post, with shoppers visiting the area to buy bulk supplies.
Construction commenced in November 2020 and the split-level shopping centre is expected to be completed in October 2021.
Aki Savva, a partner at MDS Architecture, says that the L-shaped building includes both a covered open element and a closed mall design. “It was important to ensure easy access to both levels. As a result, Flagstaff Square has a street-facing entrance with pedestrian entrance via a bold entrance portal into the building on one side, as well as pedestrian access from the opposite direction with the same treatment,” says Savva.
The building features a double-volume space with a food court on the upper level. Clerestory glass windows along the mall provide soft southern light helping to illuminate the space.
On the lower level, several shops face the public realm with covered walkways, creating a comfortable interface with pedestrians. Paving patterns provide interest by evoking a bar-code in the layout design and this element is repeated with porcelain tiles indoors on the upper floor, revoking the retail aspect of a trading post with a modern twist.
“The colour palette features white, grey and earthy brown tones which form a neutral backdrop in order for the individual shops to shine,” says Savva.
Robust materials have been selected and kept true to their raw state, including bricks and steel. Large voids in the first-floor mall slab allow for natural light from the clerestory windows to penetrate the mall level below. This assists in creating an airy space in the lower level and visually links the two levels.
A formal taxi rank in the parking will help in making the mall a meeting place and transport node in the area. Anchor tenants are Shoprite and Roots and the tenancy is expected to include a mix of national tenants, regional traders and individual businesses. Locals will also no longer have to travel far for popular fashion brands like Truworths, Markhams and Jet, to name a few.
The lack of municipal water and sewerage to the site has prompted the development team to create a self-sustaining water and sewer solution in the form of borehole water and a sewage plant. It is also an area which is very humid and has high rainfall. A large swamp-like section of the site complicated construction and the engineers created a plan to work around this challenge,” says Savva.
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