Winning Submission: Innovation through form - An extension of City Life


The Floating Box: Movement through formal and technological expression.

Concept Description:

The raised shipping containers create a floating box whereby pedestrians can move freely between and under the boxes. Therefore the floating boxes overhead create an immediate interaction between the pedestrians and the building, thus creating an extension of the city life of Warwick Junction.

Description of the project as a whole:

The primary concern of the design for a health facility was the incorporation of a youth friendly and youth oriented design. After all, the youth are the future of the country. By creating awareness through health and omitting stigmas attached to different diseases, the prevention of contagious and deadly disease, could, in the long term, be prevented.

The site chosen is ideally located to incorporate the commuters and traders of Warwick Junction into the health facility, being situated at the intersection of Monty Naiker Street and Joseph Nduli Street, opposite the West Street Cemetery. The design creates a public space at this intersection linking it to the informal traders and markets of Warwick Junction, the site is therefore at the start of the buzz and happenings surrounding the markets and public transport facilities. This site and especially the design can kick start this movement and interaction. The idea is to create a building on the site around a courtyard which creates a space for people to gather.

The building is separated into two main components – one the more public multiuse component and the other the more private health facility. By separating the two buildings components a walkthrough and public space is created on the site and by angling the public component in the direction of the informal markets the design is accessible and the flow of people is directed towards the busier part of Warwick Junction. The integration of the people, as well as the movement of the people through the site, makes the health facility accessible to the people.

By raising the public component off the ground level there is an immediate interaction between the pedestrians traveling from North to South and vice versa. There is also a sense of calmness experienced in the building at an elevated position overlooking the quite green space of the cemetery with that of the open space and the elevated 'box' design.

This influences the design of the functions on the site. Monty Naiker Street being the busier edge of the site, which houses the private facilities for the health facility. Joseph Nduli being the quiet street edge, houses the public facility (raised off the ground level).

The private facilities will consist of consultation rooms, waiting areas, testing rooms, treatment rooms, dispensary, as well as staff support rooms. These functions surround the central lobby from where patients or visitors enter and then can disperse to the various facilities within the design.

The public facility will house the awareness centre where workshops, exhibitions and public events can happen to get the public involved. This could include HIV, TB and general health awareness campaigns but could also include a weekly baby clinic, and exercise classes promoting a healthy lifestyle. The public component can operate independently from the private component and can therefore hold activities and events after hours and on weekends.

The public open space could also be used for public events related to the health facility and by other organisations in and around Warwick Junction thus exposing the health facility to many more potential beneficiaries and users.

A herb garden is incorporated into the private health facility adjacent to the waiting areas where medicinal gardens will be of use as traditional medicine. This will be beneficial for patients not wanting to use Western medicinal practice.

The technological aspect of the medical facility is made up of a primary steel framed structure that houses the shipping containers, whereas the shipping containers will be repurposed to house the various functions of the facility. There is also a flexible design approach, as the shipping containers can be slotted in at various lengths. There is an abundance of unused shipping containers in Durban that can be refurbished and reused. The steel framed construction allows for easy and quick erection thus creating minimum disruption to the Warwick Junction activities during construction. In repurposing and assembling the containers a variety of infill materials can be used such as glass, timber and other cladding to give the facility a user friendly and humane appearance.

To attract the youth, bright welcoming colours are brought into the design. These colours are brought into the shipping containers that are elevated above street level along Monty Naiker Street to announce to the public that there is a new youthful activity centre in Warwick Junction, and that the new facility is an integrated health facility which accommodate the needs of the everyday users of Warwick Junction.