The Eastgate shopping centre’s piazza has always been a central node that connected restaurants to public areas and rooftop parking to various mall entrances. It has a strong geometric arrangement: a circle from which everything radiates. The piazza has recently undergone various cosmetic treatments to enhance shoppers’ overall experience. The design is aesthetically pleasing and reflects a renewable energy focus.

Development of the project

Previous attempts to rejuvenate the piazza had failed, but the addition of the solar trees has imbued a sense of identity and provided Eastgate with a ‘crowning glory’ rooftop public space.

This opportunity presented itself when a leaky roof slab that had to be fixed developed into a project – demonstrating Eastgate’s sustainable future. The main challenge was having access to the site during the construction phase, which contributed to a complicated installation process.

Self-sufficient solar trees

The fabrication objective of the solar trees was to ensure that they were self-sufficient and independent. With the refurbishment works of the piazza, a unique opportunity emerged to reactivate a problematic space while demonstrating eco-friendly, ‘green’ sustainability.

Three solar trees were designed to provide shade during the day, illuminate the space at night and harness renewable solar energy as a grid-independent power source. Featuring an elaborate display of structure and lighting, these trees have become an anchor for public circulation and gathering, as well as beacons of sustainability.

Project team

  • Uitenhage Super Steel
  • Global Roofing Solutions
  • Stance Consulting Engineers
  • Mondo Cane
  • CMAI Architects

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to for the information in this editorial.

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