Delft Exchange Towers
South Africa
With a considerable lack of public space in South Africa’s low-income living environments, Delft Exchange Towers use private investment architecture as a means to provide shared public space.
After extensive on-the-ground research in South African settlement Delft South, it was discovered that there are, along with the majority of low-income settlements, detrimental social, security and economic impacts brought on by a lack of shared public space. Delft Exchange Towers are a solution to the problem. The architecture benefits the private sector by providing them with prime live-work locations and in such funds a shared public space that can be taken over by communities of the local area. Such an example uses private investment to aid public interest design. By building on existing models such as the Violence Protection Through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) and the Dignified Public Places Program (DPPP) the Delft Exchange Towers form linked nodes in a community. Such nodes supply much needed environments for residents to congregate when not at work or home – creating opportunities for education, community and development. The visual landmarks allow such spaces to visually and symbolically speak back to the community and create a sense of location and pride in an otherwise monotonous environment. A kit of parts design method and a pre-formulated brief matrix allows, in a social context, for adaptability of site and building according to local conditions, existing climates and social demands. In a material context such a method allows for a rapid-fire construction and low build cost. Such buildings can be adjusted depending on their location and modified according to the thermal, visual, security and acoustics needs of each site. Representing linking islands of change the strategy allows for more locations to be added if needed. Such a strategy is also not limited to Delft South. With a matrix that allows for change, such a strategy could be implemented as a means to offer much needed civic presence and improve social, economic and security issues in any needed community.

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