Thesis Thursday: Long Beach Reconsidered

Thesis Thursday is an architectural series showcasing the work produced by the UCT M.Arch (prof) graduates of 2013. These projects tackle a number of issues in vast contexts spread throughout Cape Town, ranging from diminutive park follies to massive desalination plants. M.Arch theses, on one hand; are infamous for exhibiting ideas that simply serve as provocative visions of infinite possibilities. On the other hand, they display imaginative approaches to somewhat enigmatic urban/social issues …… You decide.


Leonard Miller

Kim Stanley Robinson, a science fiction writer was asked to imagine the world in the year 2200, he imagined a post capitalistic society that had to change – wasting away all our natural resources, including fresh water. He imagined floating machines in the ocean that exchange salt water for fresh water and absorbing carbon dioxide. Do future landscapes always have to be so dark, where the machine becomes the saviour of man?

3D Render 2

This dissertation looks at the issue of fresh water scarcity with desalination as a post-industrial, ecologically and socially informed productive idea. Where desalination forms a new kind of space that becomes a means of social and spatial integration of place. Blurring architecture, nature and infrastructure into a hybrid organism, allowing for emergent systems to be revealed, engaging with real humans and context to catalyse a multi-layered network of new spaces and new bonds.

3D Render

The plant will be located at Long Beach, Simon’s Town; next to the last station of the Atlantic rail.

Site Plan


The idea is approached as a test model that could have the potential to evolve into a sustainable approach to fresh water scarcity on a broader scale – where desalination technology could become a holistic answer and not just a last resort to save the thirsty man.

Concept DiagramsThe process of desalination becomes exposed to the visitors within the architecture, everyone can look inside the machines and even smell the water being transformed into drinkable water

Programme Diagrams

The architecture is meant to be explored and used as an open landscape, its function is only relevant to the individual who finds himself in it. The architecture tries moves away from the monogamy of a single idea and embrace context and human psych in order to operate beyond the boundaries of a desalination plant.

Tower Section

“If I abandon myself to my imagination, I am able to see. What do I do differently when I travel? Only extreme weakness of the imagination justifies a change of scene in order to be able to feel”. 

3d Render 3