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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
THANX FOR GREAT FIND

NAME: Africa Peace Centre and Gardens of Reconciliation
LOCATION: Bluff Headland, Durban

Will be Major decision centre for Africa in realms of peace and conflict resolution, as well as a FASCINATING tourist attraction


(Originally posted by RomanSA)

I have a scoop, scoop, scoop!!!! Mike (and other passionate Durbanites), try not to pee in your pants like me when you read this. LOL!

Have any of you heard of ACCORD? "Who?", you ask? Well, the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) is the organisation that have been promised the Bluff Headland for a proposed peace and conflict resolution centre. The center has received endorsements from amongst others, Mandela, Mbeki, Blair, Clinton, and Obesanjo (although Clinton's name doesn't apear on the current list, I have seen it there before).

Anyway, I have been periodically checking their website for more than 3 years, since their proposed centre was first mooted. They had a high profile international design competition for the centre a few years ago (submissions were received from throughout Africa) and since then nothing new was heard of the proposed centre or the winning design. Guess what?? It's been released and apparently the centre is to be built before 2010. Thus, Mike's challenge to find a way to link the point to the Buff is now not a moot point; it is real.

You're probably wondering about the design? Well, in short, it is simple but stunning.

But don't jump the gun yet. All will be revealed soon... (yes, I am a tease)

First, more about the ACCORD and the proposed centre. Then we talk designs...

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The African Century will be founded on Africa's ability to find solutions to her own challenges. Her challenges of conflict, of development, her search for peace. African solutions to African challenges. Out of this belief has grown the vision of an Africa Peace Center. A neutral site, in Africa, where the continent's leaders can forge a passage away from conflict and violence, and towards peace.

This is a vision shared by ACCORD – a vision of the African continent, as it should be – free of violence and economic dependency. Where the resolution of conflict leads to significant economic achievements and a better life for all her people.

ACCORD is an African non-governmental conflict management organisation, recognised by the United Nations as a model for conflict prevention and transformation in Africa:

A model based on the pillars of research, training, and intervention.

A model that has been tested and proven throughout Africa over the past decade.

A model for Conflict Management that will be institutionalised through our vision of the Africa Peace Centre.

The Africa Peace Centre will be a state-of-the-art complex which will act as a base for high level conflict intervention and continuous research and training. It will also incorporate a resource and documentation centre, a meeting and training centre, a conference venue, 80 guest residences and a number of VIP houses. The complex will also house the ACCORD offices.

The Africa Peace Centre vision has already received the support of key political, business and civil society leaders throughout Africa and the world. ACCORD has forged a partnership with the City of Durban to make the Centre a reality.

http://www.accord.org.za/centre/vision.htm

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Now the part we've all been waiting for: the design. In my opinion, it's really novel and unique, utilising the underground military bunkers, as well as light. The key elements of the design are described as "Wells of light, shafts of darkness, and a living museum." Pictures of the bunkers look the coolest. Surreal, in my opinion. Also, renders of the development show massive spikes of light at the head of the Bluff that will form part of the feature. They seem to dwarf the Millennium Tower and should look *amazing* at night.

Also, the proposed gardens are not called the "Africa Freedom Park" but the Gardens of Reconciliation. Key components of this feature are: "Generous lawn and seating space; Amphitheatre; Water and stage, and Restaurants." The design looks amazing. There seems to be a long, elevated walkway.

Now, for the part you've been all been waiting for (yes, I'm a tease, I already told you so ): the design and renders. Check out these links (I recommend you read descriptions first):

THE VISION OF THE CENTRE

Renders here include:

- those massive spikes of light at the end of the Bluff; and
- stunning and surreal never-before-seen publically-released actual pics of the military bunkers [I hope they leave as is].

http://www.accord.org.za/centre/vision.htm


THE DESIGN

Renders here include:

- The exterior and interior designs of the center (which look amazing and original, in my opinion)

http://www.accord.org.za/centre/design.htm


THE GARDENS OF RECONCILIATION

Renders here include:

- A repeat render of those spikey light features at the head of the Bluff
- Renders of a massive elevated bridge / pathway through the center, on the North-facing side of the Bluff (imagine the views of the city and harbour from there! I think that is the intended effect)
- An amphitheatre leading to a water feature of sorts
- overall floorplan of the centre, including depth of the centre

http://www.accord.org.za/centre/gardens.htm


DETAILS OF THE SITE ITSELF:

http://www.accord.org.za/centre/site.htm

OVERALL SCHEMATIC PLAN FOR NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN DURBAN

This page describes itself as: "The above plan identifies current and future Durban landmarks and illustrates how the Centre will integrate with other key attractions and functional parts of the Durban landscape."

http://www.accord.org.za/centre/durban.htm

Enjoy!

(Mike, you can exhale now)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
(Originally posted by RomanSA)

So what do you guys think? There's a comment on the site that says the city is committed to building it before 2010. Fundraising has already commenced.

What an iconic asset for the city!

Okay, so back to Mike's question: how do we get there? Transport mode will have to work with design of centre. Methinks cable car feature might work best but it mustn't detract from the envionmentally conscious nature and design of the centre.


2I just noticed that the ACCORD site says the following (in their section entitled "The site":

"This is the view from the site. It sits on the end of the Bluff, with a stunning view out to sea, and back at the harbour. Access to the site is still under discussion. Currently a tunnel exists under the harbour entrance, and this is to be rehabilitated as a pedestrian walkway. Arrangements will then be made to get people up to the top via one of a variety of different means."

However, I recall reading this on the site 2-3 years ago, word for word. Thus, maybe things have changed since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
VERY VERY good to see!! Great find jerome!! always remembered this, but thought it had been a passing fancy. will put the pics all in here for people to check over quickly. it is VERY impressive.



The below identifies current and future Durban landmarks and illustrates how the Centre will integrate with other key attractions and functional parts of the Durban landscape.



The Gardens of Reconciliation

The Gardens of Reconciliation is a flagship City of Durban project that will commemorate the tremendous achievements that the people of South Africa and the continent have made in overcoming racism, colonialism, division and turmoil to build the hope of a prosperous future. The gardens will share the Bluff site with ACCORD's Africa Peace Centre.















Design


The Africa Peace Centre will be a cutting edge design reflecting principles of environmental integration, cutting-edge architecture and building science, beauty, harmony and nature - and will integrate perfectly with its surroundings.











The site

The site which has been earmarked for the Africa Peace Centre is one of the prime pieces of coastal land in South Africa. Occupied for many years by the South African military, the land had great strategic value during World War 2, and was used as a base for the apartheid government's incursions into Mozambique and elsewhere. There is a beautiful irony in the land now being committed to peace.





ACCORD has already held an architectural competition to select a firm of architects to design the new Centre, which attracted architects from as far afield as Egypt, Côte d'Ivoire, the DRC, Malawi and Tanzania. The requirements for the building include a number of interesting aspects - not least of which is the principle of environmentally-sustainable design and low impact.



There are several old historic buildings on the site. They will be restored and integrated into the design. This one is the old lighthouse (the portion on the left). It was originally a steel structure, and was then ensconced in concrete to support it from the vibrations of the big guns on the military base. In WW2, it was chopped off at the level you see here, to give the guns line of site, as there were fears that a U-Boat would hide in the shadow cast behind the structure. It is a little-known fact that Winston Churchill planned to use the Bluff as a last retreat to fight out the end of WW2,and there is a bunker that is still equipped and set up as it was then for his use.

There is finally a great sense of being on the road to vision becoming reality, down here on the southern tip of Africa.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Such an ICONIC development needs an iconic way of getting there. and this now makes my initial post of how to connect the point and bluff MUCH more pertinent!! Lets think BOLDLY, i have some ideas to throw around. dunno if we should talk about it in here or keep in the other thread? i will post the ideas there tho for now
 

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a similar system used with the path of reconciliation (looks like a floating staircase to me) needs to be used around the kings park sports precinct!
 

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One thing that may cause a problem with the cable-car idea is that the ship pilots are dropped and picked up by helicopter at just around that part of the harbour mouth. Unless the widening of the entrance gets rid of that problem?
 

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^^ Yeah I was also thinking about that. Would be awesome though, especially with clear bottom carriages to watch the ships through :)
btw welcome Sand-shark!!
 

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Thanks... Been viewing posts on here for at least a year now and feel like I know everyone, but had problems registering and finally got that resolved today.

Looks like an awesome development. Now we just need to find a way to get there. :)
 

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Welcome sand shark, you raised an important point about the chopper with the pilots, actualy forgot about that one. I dont think the depth of the entrance is going to be changes, so maybe they might still need the harbour pilots. But Im sure the helicopter could just fly around it.
 

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I know I've seen the chopper rendezvous well beyond the harbour entrance, even last year. Have they shifted the rendezvous spot recently?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Welcome sand shark.

The entrance channel is being widened AND deepened so that the port can handle ever larger ships. It has been deepened by 4,7m according to www.ports.co.za

That, imo will mean that the chopper wont really be needed that often, except for really large ships.

I'm being a bit bolder and saying why not be EVEN more iconic than the cableway. Why dont we build a glass encased skybridge over the entrance. You can have base towers at either end. From the Point side they can have a visitors centre and maybe include a hotel or office development. Then visitors will go up lifts to a suitable height that misses the ships and cross over the entrance channel on travellators, enabling them to stand still and take in the awesome views.

Imagine how amazing that would look? also for the ships arriving in Durban, it would be a true entrance to Durban.

They could even incorporate intelligent signage on the sides to send messages and communicate with the ships entering port.
 

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Thanks for creating this thread, Mike. When I discovered this development last night I could hardly believe my eyes. It's unique, symbolic, and significant for Durbs and the continent. The link to Churchill and the bunkers alone would make this a big attraction. I would love to go poking around those sub-terrean bunkers. The proximity to the developing Point and Esplande waterfronts will make this a golden triangle of sorts. That way we'll have a Golden Mile and Golden Triangle, in close promity to each other, Can't wait for this to take off.
 

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Hmm, was thinking the same abouth putting up a tower at the Point & a Tower at the other end & have a bridge or putting up a Tower up at the Point & have a cable car station at the top of it & another on top of the hill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
^^ but lets be damn bold. no half hearted lame-ass means of getting to the bluff. BIG, ELEGANT, BOLD :)
 

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I wouldn't mind seeing a massive 100 meter arch, like that found in St Louis, with some sort of cable car on it, like that planned for the MM stadium. That would make for a very dramatic entrance and become an instant iconic "Gateway to Africa" symbol for the city. However, I can't see how they would be able to build someting like that with the harbour being as busy as it is. They would have to utilise the harbour mouth for the middle part of the arch and I'm pretty certain they wouldn't be able to do so. Plus the water and depth would mean special cranes. However, I can still dream about it, right?
 
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