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Architectural Competition aims to revive Lowveld Botanical Gardens

Lowveld Botanical Gardens entrance

4 June 2014 - Aurecon recently acted as overall programme manager for an architectural design competition focused on arriving at a winning design for the planned upgrade of Entrance 2 at the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI) Lowveld National Botanical Gardens in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.

“The competition formed part of the on-going commemoration of the SANBI’s centenary anniversary and was endorsed by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) and the Mpumalanga Institute of Architects (MPIA),” says Louwrens Vermaak, Aurecon Project Manager.

Judges were looking for a vibrant new design that would replace the existing entrance facilities with a single signature entrance complex.

Additionally, the new design needed to have an authentic, contemporary character that would incorporate existing plants or trees in the surrounding area.

“The competition focused on identifying a design that would lend the gardens its own unique brand identity that would attract additional visitors to the gardens,” says Vermaak.

Stepping up to the design challenge
The competition commenced on 21 January 2014 and the final judging took place on 29 March 2014.

Entrants included various well known architectural firms from Mpumalanga, including Orbic Architects and Cecilia Architects, who took a combined second place during the final judging round.

It was, however, TJ Architects’ contemporary thatch roof design that finally captured the attention of the judges and was awarded the coveted first prize.

As competition winners, TJ Architects have been awarded the tender for managing the project from the design stage to final handover after construction.

“Aurecon is proud to have been involved in this project and we look forward to seeing the final result realised, which will certainly enhance the prestige of the gardens and give the people of Mpumalanga something to be proud of,” concludes Vermaak.

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