Recovery of the Real: Up Close Cape Town

Project 01

Strategy for Philippi Farmland – Brian Macken, Architect, London.

This project addresses the Philippi farmland, an area of 4528 hectares of mixed unconsolidated land in the Cape Flats region of the Western Cape South Africa, situated 19km outside the centre of Cape Town. Previously rural, it is now within the extent of the city as urban sprawl consumes the Cape Flats.

Externally it is threatened by sprawling development incubated by a corrupt if not defunct zoning system. Internally it is being physically eradicated by an unregulated mining system. As the remaining arable land transfers through the generations, it falls victim to progress, as cultural and social interest and an appreciation of landscape and agriculture fail to transcend the generational divide. Sand-mining, urban sprawl, rising energy prices and international price competition are creating increasingly adverse environmental and economic conditions, forcing closure on agricultural land as farmers search for viable alternatives.

Conducted at three scales: macro, meso and micro. It proposes solutions to macro instability at micro level, intensifying the productivity of the Phillipi community which can absorb external fluctuations whilst prospering through internal enterprise.

A strategy is proposed for an intervention in a mining operation remediating the landscape, water and wind, in the production of energy and food.

Unit 17 is a post-graduate architecture unit at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. It is run by Yeoryia Manolopoulou, Niall Mclaughlin and Michiko Sumi.

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