Architecture as a driver for social change: towards the design of a self-sustainable community anchor in Kwa-Mashu.
Ngcamphalala, Banele Benedict.
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The deterioration of our natural environment is proving to be the biggest threat to all life forms, and yet it is not given the necessary attention. This deterioration is as a result of continued human behaviour resulting in the depletion of natural resources, pollution, threats to ecosystems and biodiversity. With the continued abuse of the natural environment, future generations may not enjoy the same privileges and relationship with nature as antecedent generations have. This dissertation acknowledges the role played by the built environment as a major contributor to this detriment, and identifies architecture as having a moral duty to sensitise mankind of this predicament and offer solutions. The research reveals the plight on nature brought about by human activity identified through literature. Theories are used to explain the phenomena and formulate concepts to provide solutions. Through interviews, the perception of the local people of KwaMashu on the subject will be gathered, also as a way of supporting the secondary research. Case and precedent studies are used to present ideas on how these solutions have been executed elsewhere, and to what extent. The township of KwaMashu is used as an example of the deteriorated relationship between the built environment and the natural environment as well as the resultant adverse effects on social stability. The findings of the research are used to generate a brief for a public building to cater for the needs of the community and become a social hub for community based activities. The ultimate purpose of the building is to function as an awareness tool aimed at establishing common ground between society, architecture and the environment. By being an exemplary environmentally responsible piece of architecture, the building will rekindle mankind’s appreciation for the natural environment and mend the deteriorated relationship.