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ettore soffietti


the strandfontein aqueduct: re-contextualising infrastructure through ecological engagement


strandfontein, cape town

ecology, remediation, lamination, resource management, land use


This investigation explores the dynamic relationship between natural resource systems and our built environment, framing itself through the lens of ecological engagement. It seeks to explore the interdependency between human inhabitation and resource management, with the intent of developing more resilient and self-sufficient communities.

This investigation situates itself in the Greater City of Cape Town, exploring the Cape Flats Aquifer as the predicating resource for the development of the city and reckoning this with its spatial legacy. The physical embodiment of apartness has been instilled in both the social paradigm of the city but also the natural resource systems on which it is laminated upon. The interaction between people and landscape could serve as the means of re-contextualization with the architectural intervention serving as the point of interaction between user and resource.

An impetus of productive remediation is instilled through theoretical sources, gearing the project towards agricultural production as both a means of ecological remediation but also social and economic opportunity for the surrounding communities. The site is located just south of the Philippi Horticultural Area in Strandfontein. A seemingly Peri-urban environment, surrounded by disused and degrading landscape, segmented from surrounding communities by specified land-use and infrastructure.

The project begins addressing the Mitchells Plain Waste Water Treatment Works as a point of opportunity by which to begin the process of re-contextualization and engagement. A managed wetland is proposed as a functional extension to the W.W.T.W, offering newfound possibilities to surrounding communities whilst simultaneously returning the landscape to its original functioning structure, feeding the aquifer below. An aqueduct is subsequently proposed as a means of generating access to this vital resource allowing for productive land use, stimulating economic and social dynamics. The final architectural proposal stands as an extension to this developed network, facilitating agricultural production and social dynamics. Ultimately forming an interdependent link between community and the inhabited landscape.


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