Choromanski Architects create an organic and an interactive process, where the building becomes a living organism
The Apartheid Legislation in South Africa of 1948,enacted laws to define and enforce segregation. The struggle of Cato Manor against Forced Removals became a political metaphor for urban dispossession and resistance. Working with memory, in South Africa, is a significant part of the reconciliation process, which has proved to enhance the economic and cultural sustainability within local communities.
The site is 7kilometres from Durban and has a history representing the largest Forced Removals of the African and Indian people in South Africa, as well as displaying layers of history dating back to the Iron Age. The Umkhumbane River, a natural landmark influenced early settlement in Cato Manor, now becomes the primary planning generator to the development.
The Living Park symbolically articulates buildings, public spaces, landscape and exhibits into the existing green belt, providing a framework for interpretation and participation of community and visitors while the following constraints were overcome: flood plains, gas and power line servitudes, polluted river, waste disposal site, endangered species of chameleon and deterioration of a green belt.
Regeneration of the indigenous landscape and river, a nature conservancy, an environmental centre and urban agriculture, will reach out into the communities. The development includes: education, manufacturing, museum, theatres, shops, restaurants, exhibitions, offices, library and a Freedom Square which is integrated into residential, schools and a commercial precinct. The project will add value to the evolving Central Node and form a gateway into the eco and cultural tours through Cato Manor and surrounding relocation settlements.