Nelson Mandela Square - Urban Design
Designed to be the heart and catalyst for Sandton, Nelson Mandela Square has emerged as the most prominent public space in Johannesburg.
In the mid 1980s, Sandton Square, later renamed Nelson Mandela Square, emerged at the end of a long process of discussion regarding a potential catalyst to launch Sandton as a primary urban center. The design deals with both the form and content of what it takes to energise such a large mixed-use scheme. The urban designers and leaders of a multi-disciplinary team, Co-Arc International, in collaboration with GAPP, managed to transform a piece of vacant council land in Sandton into a major public place, accelerating the growth of this hub.
The urban design of the square required careful analysis of contemporary urban projects to ensure the correct proportioning, order, and scale, and the creation of a sense of place and civic quality. The rigorous application of these principles ultimately guided the successful development of a new town square that became the single most prominent element of the growing city of Johannesburg, attracting significant surrounding developments.
The aim of the urban scheme was to ensure that the square became a magnet in its own right, to complement the existing configuration of shopping within Sandton City and to facilitate future development. As a stage for human life, the square attains a sense of place and civic quality. Architecture produced in this manner significantly increases the investment value for the client.
The collaborative realisation of Nelson Mandela Square, now and international landmark within the city of Johannesburg, is a result of overcoming innumerable challenges by applying considerable expertise and sheer tenacity during the 10-year process.