Cape Town is getting a dome of plants, and here's how they'll water it

2018-03-11 00:00 - Emile Uys
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Green Dome / Design Indaba

Cape Town - Luthuli Plaza in Cape Town is set for an exciting transformation at the hands of LOLA Architects and Design Indaba. The plaza is named after South African Nobel peace prize-winning struggle stalwart Albert Luthuli.

It was built as a way to connect the hub where people catch taxis, trains and buses to the Artscape precinct. But now the Luthuli Plaza stands mostly unused.

Rotterdam-based landscape architect Peter Veenstra, in collaboration with the guru of bamboo building, Olav Bruin of Nomadic Resorts, is planning to revamp the drab plaza and give Cape Town a jewel of green to add to its crown – the Dome of Plants. He imagines the dome forming a centrepiece in an urban public garden that starts at the Cape Town taxi rank and ends at the Artscape.

Veenstra shared his vision for the innovative dome project on the Design Indaba Conference stage.

In a bid to revamp the largely stagnant and grey Luthuli Plaza, the Dome of Plants will at serve as a beacon of sustainable design for the city and be a functional venue where public forums, lectures and performances can take place.

It will be constructed with natural materials such as bamboo and wood, and plants such as indigenous fynbos and spekboom, which is hardy and like all plants converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.

Cape Town is in a water crisis, and Veenstra says the dome will be fed by purified urine from the bureaucrats working in the Cape Town Civic Centre building, right behind the dome’s proposed location.

Inside this vegetated shelter, there will be 175 square metres of indoor space, complete with amphitheatre-style seating, a stage and a podium. Together, they will offer space for discussions, events, workshops, exhibitions, meetings, lunch and a quick coffee, and will be accessible to everyone.

It is an attractive venue that can contribute to the cultural life of Cape Town. At night, the site will transform, casting a soft green glow on Luthuli Plaza. The designers aim to revitalise this part of the city and bestow on it a meaningful purpose for citizens to enjoy throughout the year. 

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