Dagutat Science is based in Koedoespoort, an area that comprises of mostly commercial and industrial properties, characterised by a uniquely industrial saw-tooth roof aesthetic. This dynamic, production-driven precinct with little concern for the streetscape or the “spirit of place” forms the backdrop for the renovation project of a decommissioned small arms ammunition factory.
Creating conditions for life
The conceptual idea for this project was inspired by Dagutat Science’s focus on creating conditions for life. If you view the city (Koedoespoort precinct) as a living, breathing organism – then this project can serve as the “urban acupuncture needle” that can revitalise the whole by healing the part.
The design approach refers to the notion of permanence (the old/existing), which is vital, but the series of sensations of creating something new is the basis of revelation – that moment of emotion when you see or perceive something that you would not have been aware of if the building was designed in a different way.
“Architecture is a mixture of nostalgia and extreme anticipation. While the primary existing structure was retained (most notably the saw-tooth roof structure and existing face-brick walls), almost as a skeleton or frame, we made room for things that matter by removing everything that doesn’t,” notes W design architecture studio.
The planning and layouts are based on the idea of an ordered toolbox or workbench – perfectly planned according to the pattern and flow of the production process. The new laboratory PODS are seen as ‘floating and light’ units – not touching the solid structure directly but holding inside them the ‘secrets to LIFE’.
Behind the protective veil of the new steel screen (or peridium – in reference to a fungi’s protective outer layer) the elevated unfinished concrete office building houses a boardroom with a ZEISS microscope, to illustrate and visualize at what miniscule scale Dagutat Science operates to make their huge impact on the world.
PHOTOS by JAMIE THOM
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