iTRUMP: Warwick Junction

Exhibition: Cities | October 11, 2011 by

Warwick Junction, in Durban, South Africa, is the area’s primary transport hub, accommodating 460,000 commuters a day along with 5,000 traders who form several robust markets. During apartheid, the area became neglected, unsafe, and congested. Warwick Junction is one of nine iTRUMP (Inner Thekwini Regeneration & Urban Management Program) districts established in the 1990s by the eThekwini municipality to improve conditions, placing strategic value on the inner city in a quest to become a sustainable city. The pioneering work of incorporating the informal economy into the larger city required stakeholder participation. Heading the efforts, the nonprofit group Asiye eTafuleni (“bring it to the table” in Zulu) used a bottom-up approach, consulting formal and informal businesses, residents, and commuters to overcome gender, cultural, racial, and language biases.

Traders in the Traditional Medicine and Herb Market used to work on the pavement in dangerous conditions, and, lacking storage, many traders protected their goods by sleeping overnight next to them. New designs transformed dormant freeway ramps into sheltered trader stalls with locked storage. Bovine heads, a Zulu delicacy, were boiled over open fires on the pavement, with excess water and grease drained into the city’s stormwater system. In the redesigned Bovine Head Market, pre-cast concrete cooking cubicles and steel serving tables reduce pollution and hazards. New designs for trading spaces and kiosks, tailor-made storage facilities, and new widened pedestrian routes have vastly improved trading conditions, and these improved markets have further enabled other “invisible” employment opportunities throughout the city and region.

Project managers: Richard Dobson (architect), with Sue Wilkinson and Hoosen Moolla, eThekwini municipality; design and implementation: Gavin Adams, Jonathan Edkins, Ken Froise, Nic Combrink, and Nina Saunders, eThekwini municipality; commissioned architects: Architects Collaborative, Emmett & Emmett, Kooblal & Steyn, Langa Makhanya & Associates, Laren Beni, Lee Saunders, Lees & Short, MA Gafoor Architects, Matic van Zyl, Mike Legg Architects, Richard Dobson Architect, OMM Design Workshop. Client: eThekwini municipality. Warwick Junction, Durban, South Africa, 1995–present. Locally sourced masonry units, concrete, steel, timber, corrugated sheeting

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