Maintaining and enhancing a sense of place. Four ideas strongly promote this:
- Conceiving the settlement as a 'bastide': a largely self-contained settlement with strong edges, carved out of the countryside. Sprawl must be avoided at all costs.
- The main approach road (the National Freeway) is treated as a scenic route as it moves through the countryside.
- The ridge lines of the koppies remain undeveloped.
- A number of riverine corridors and their associated bushveld are kept in their natural condition.
The site is organised around a strong differentiated grid. The scale of the grid varies from a super block of 300 x 300 metres in the primary, largely industrial area, to a more pedestrian-scaled 80 x 80 metres city block in more residential and mixed-use areas. Attention is also given to clarifying the relationship between through-movement and local movement.
The grid has been carefully designed with emphasis on the key aspect of SUNGATE's convenient location. This being said, the diversity of the offering, from a residential component through to light industry, can be refined if necessary in response to market demand.
Different modes and orders of movement are strongly integrated and a logical system of convenient access is created.
Although there are zones of emphasis in terms of activities, generally uses are widely mixed and both larger and smaller scale activities can be accommodated.
The scale of the settlement footprint (some 408 hectares) and the wide range of activities potentially enable a high degree of self-containment.
Spatial and Design Concept
A central part of the concept is the generous open space system. Open space at SUNGATE can be attributed to three areas:
- A vast servitude within which the new alignment of the National Route occurs. This is viewed as an asset to the development. The green swathe brings the natural landscape of acacia grasslands into the development. The National Highway is thus treated as a scenic route.
- Riverine corridors of varying scale act as ecological corridors; they link different habitats and operate as migration corridors for birds and animals, thus promoting habitat selection and biodiversity. The corridor that passes through the industrial area widens in the north to form a kick-about space for inhabitants and accompanying industry employees.
- A more formal linear park edges the central mixed-use zone to the south. High-rise office buildings mark the eastern and western edges of this park.
The dominant route structure will be as follows:
- North-south access to, and egress from, the airport is taken directly from the proposed new National Route to Gobabis.
- Part of the existing National Route, which represents a significant amount of infrastructural investment, is retained but reduced. It forms an incipient urban spine running east-west across the site, and over time will attract supplementary commercial and retail neighbours.
- A distorted grid works off this spine, ensuring that the system is as permeable as possible.
Furthermore, three major urban public spaces anchor the site:
- A central Town Square associated with the primary mixed-use zone and flanked to the south by the linear park.
- To the north of this is a two-sided Station Square, which also operates as a small transportation interchange. Over time, small traders will certainly gravitate towards this.
- A Gateway Space to the east, within which the main east-west movement spine terminates.
In terms of land use, the centre of the scheme is a large mixed-use zone (warehousing, offices, retail and residential) to the west of the main square. Within this zone, the intention is to include travel, business and tourism-oriented accommodation in the form of world-class hotels with related leisure facilities. A smaller mixed-use zone occurs in a highly accessible location to the west of the site, nestling between two water courses.
To the west of the mixed-use zone are further opportunities for larger, light industrial warehousing. To the east of the central mixed-use zone are smaller sites, well-suited to airport-related services.
A planned residential sector for employees exists to the south of the development, associated with the major riverine open space corridor. Most housing, however, will occur in phase 2, which lies to the south of phase 1.