Activating the Castle of Good Hope: Bring back the markets?

In response to the challenge put forward by Andrew Boraine on 12 July 2010 in his blog post entitled How the Castle can become part of city life, I created a quick concept to re-introduce markets to the Strand Street corner back in August 2010.

While a broader precinct plan is needed, a collection of “activation” projects along the edge, in the short term can possibly help to re-integrate the Castle of Good Hope with this part of the Central City.

The five sided Pentagon shape of the building is a strong design concept, which is rare in Cape Town (how many Pentagon’s do we have in our City?), and should be extended or be elaborated on through the surrounding landscaping plan, perhaps as an idea for the surrounding paving, as proposed in the images below.

The market or trading structures for formal trading (rather than informal) mimic the pentagon shape, while the array of colours hopefully bring some colour to what appears to be a rather dull area.

Boraine raises three important actions which need to take place.

  1. PROPER PRECINCT PLAN: a proper precinct plan, which better integrates the Castle into the city centre and addresses the problem of dead spaces and poor access routes, needs to be drawn up and implemented.
  2. MANAGEMENT: a new approach to managing and developing the Castle needs to be put in place
  3. RECLAIMING HISTORY: Castle needs to be more thoroughly reclaimed from its colonial and apartheid history.

There are of course several potential challenges in implementing this market concept including a lack of sufficient pedestrian activity or the reduction of “green space” but I think it should be able to initiate some debate around how we activate the awkward spaces in the short term.

We still have some way to go before we realize that heritage structures or “old buildings” while being preserved and respected should also be viable, and through modern interventions can be maintained as an asset for all citizens. Rather than standing idol, interesting ways should be developed that challenges the history of the Castle of Good Hope and hopefully unearths the full scope of it’s history. This can or may in turn, produce architectural interventions to reconnect the building with the city and modern times.

Ideally, through the combination of the Phase 2 development of the Grand Parade, the development of The Fringe and further work to Cape Town Station, the Castle of Good Hope will gradually be re-introduced into city life, both physically and in the minds of Capetonians.

What are some of your ideas?