Makeka Design Lab (MDL), founded by dynamic and forward-thinking architect Mokena Makeka, specialises in innovative conceptual design projects and creating spaces that inspire, bring joy and improves the quality of people’s lives.
The progressive architect and his team have made a great impact in the South African urban design space by transforming several public spaces and walking away with a number of awards in the process. The awards include a 2011 Gold Loerie for the SAPS railway police station, a 2009 CIFA Merit Award for designing the Thusong Services centre in Khayelitsha, and many more. Makeka is a lecturer at the University of Cape Town and an external examiner at the Columbia University of Architecture.
MDL recently completed SANParks new Tokai offices, which are situated at the foot of Table Mountain between the Prinskasteel stream and a protected biodiversity corridor.
Check out the images and read more on the project below:
Please share some interesting facts about the process and creation of the new SANParks Tokai offices?
The site, which is in close proximity to the famous Tokai Arboretum (a botanical garden for trees), was historically used to store timber, which informed the modernized farm-shed nature of the architecture. The brief asked for an office building comprising of cellular offices, a client facing reception and shared boardroom facilities.
The building comprises of three main parts. The upper (mountain) and lower (river) blocks, in white, contain the cellular offices and the contrasting charcoal boardroom facility links the two sheds by means of a covered walkway. The covered walkway is enclosed with timber slats to mimic the idea of walking in a forest. The shed is intentionally asymmetrical to exaggerate the scale of the internal spaces.
The surrounding area is home to a troop of baboons, which created an interesting dynamic and kept the team on their toes. Insulation was constantly pulled out of ceiling voids and various items needed to be repeatedly repainted to fix paw prints where our curious inhabitants climbed the columns. Concealed gutters were designed specifically to avoid being ripped off.
The building comfortably imitates the white cape vernacular of the surrounding area, only to reveal the modern twist upon closer inspection.
When was the project completed and when will the office be occupied?
Practical Completion was reached 31 August 2018, landscaping is still to be done and it will be occupied in January 2019.
What is Makeka Designs' design philosophy?
MDL aims to approach each project without preconceived ideas and current trends in mind, but rather we design contextually appropriate solutions specific to the location, environment, client needs and budget constraints whilst pushing innovative design solutions.
Exciting projects that the firm is currently working on?
MDL is working on more proposals for South African National Parks, specifically West Coast National Park, where the setting is absolutely breath-taking with views of the Langebaan Lagoon. We have some exciting projects at the V&A Waterfront with interesting programs including a new desalination plant and a helicopter facility.