Masters Dissertation – Milestone 4

Milestone 4

Student:      The idea of the dissertation is to explore the concept of – 
Lecturer:    – FALCON PUNCH!!!

Student:      …mild post punch groan….

(Die Grobbels, 2011)


July offered the brief reprieve of a 2 week break from the Masters Year. I spent the holiday in the Cape, attending the national arts festival and getting some down time with the family in Cape Town.
The break was absolute necessity. After 20 weeks of constant dissertation thought and talks, some ‘human’ time is required.

The first day back we hit the ground running, as Milestone 4 loomed ominously overhead.

This was the last pure design milestone, and was labelled as the decider: if we did not have enough work to the lecture re’s satisfaction, then we would be told to extend to the following year.

No pressure…

The Submission

I kept the presentation the same for the analysis work, and spent my time resolving the design. Pages and pages of sketch plans, sections and details later I quickly through together a presentation.

The program is now a distribution depot for cement, and later other goods, made up of support infrastructure that provides the necessary elements to allow for a growth of appropriation.

Integral to the organic growth is the identification of agents of Ownership (Users) and Agents of Control (Client). In this case the container retail agents existing in Mamelodi have been chosen based on the previous research.

The methods of structural and spatial appropriation have been documented here as design generators.

The module for growth is the container, the idea that the container is a temporary element of growth (a form work) that allows larger structural and spatial elements to grow from it.

The orange elements represent the structural and spatial appropriation around the container and the support.

A diagram explaining the growth based on a series of negotiated responses between the agents of control (Afrisam Consortium) and the agents of ownership (Retail Elements).

The scheme is broken into 5 main phases preceded by 6 sensitive pre-phases. These are explained here, focusing on phase 2 as the ‘main design’ for the presentation.

To re-iterate the concept, that the building begins as something small and through a series of negotiated responses ‘grows’ into something much larger that leaves behind a residue that is appropriatable by future generations.

The process explained:

Phase A

A small intervention, a structural support element that provides a loading support to a cement retailer at a key junction between pedestrian, rail and road crossing.

Phase B

The intervention grows as the space is appropriated, while the agents of control add to the infrastructure through discussion of needs.

Phase C-F

As energy increases around intervention more infrastructure is supplied as cement retail increases, the orange blocks represent the sub infill, where the retailers let out the space in between to smaller more temporary retail based on need and accommodation.


At this point the development is fully functioning cement and building supply depot, with smaller retail filling in between. The framework development begins with introduction of a serviced tar road linking the site tot he rest of Mamelodi.

The depot itself is made of de-centralised storage (Agents of Ownership) and infrastructural support including loading facilities, training spaces, and office area for Afrisam Consortium (Agent of Control).

Phase 2

Many of the original container have provided the support necessary for the agents of ownership to build there own temporary/permanent structures according to their requirements.

The framework has now developed the intersection and provided a small service road to retail elements against the rail edge, while this develops the front of house (street edge)


The zenith of development, the intervention has grown and merged with the existing train station. The storage facility now stretches over the rail, and provides longer term storage for goods in containers across the rail.

The framework development is now almost complete.

Phase 4

The cement depot program has almost faded now, with the residue of this development allowing medium scale industry (carpenters, welders, pre-fab zozo and brick making) to appropriate the spaces against the rail edge with the street edge now a bustling front of house, extending across the road.

Phase 5

The industrial nature f the program is now gone, with the major framework development being completed, the site is now a major high street and retail center with the container gantry that serviced the storage facility becoming a pedestrian bridge over the busy intersections.

The container storage laid the way for the train station that is now serviced y the adjacent transport interchange and industrial yard across the busier road.


Our presentations were marked by an external local Architect who, during my crit, discussed the ideas of support and infill and the dualities that exist between doing to much and too little.

I was told that there is not enough building on my behalf, and that I should design more.

I don’t feel its an exercise of designing more, as what is presented is the 5th version of on going process that encompasses 11 phases within it.
The process of ‘non-design’ requires more investigation and design and a simple design does. The challenge lies in how to represent and present the work that goes into it correctly without overwhelming the viewer.

The rest of the class was given an indication mark: i.e P=Pass, F=Fail, MP=Medium Pass e.t.c.

I was given a question Mark: ?


One thought on “Masters Dissertation – Milestone 4

  1. jhonobennett <-- that's what i was looking for I liked this post very much as it has helped me a lot in my research and is quite interesting as well. Thank you for sharing this information with us.

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