Urban design laboratory inner-city Bloemfontein, Free State
The proposed project takes the form of an inner city Design Laboratory situated between Fichardt and Oos Burger Street in the CBD of Bloemfontein. The aim of this project is to establish a centralised workshop in the inner city, where design, art and architecture students from Motheo FET College, the Central University of Technology (CUT) and the University of the Free State (UFS) can work towards the physical refurbishment (on micro level) of dead public spaces within the city. Interest in this typology arose from observing the fragmented urban framework of the Bloemfontein inner city, and speculating towards the reason for this fragmentation. Public space is perceived as the proverbial ‘link in the chain’, and if not the origin, then a key starting point to addressing inner city framework issues. Consequently, the research within this document focuses primarily on public space theories and how the addressing of public space can contribute to better urban place making. In the process of investigating public space and urban frameworks within the Bloemfontein inner city, this dissertation firstly identifies challenges and corresponding aims with which to drive the possible resolution of the identified problems, as a baseline for further investigation. Following this, research is conducted into published literature on the topic, including precedent and case studies on typologically similar projects. The research is then applied to a practical design, with construction and technical considerations. Lastly, the project is reflected upon, in an attempt to evaluate successes and failures in the addressing of the problem.