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keerathi patel

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co-habitation: adapting the werdmuller centre using the concept of life cycle and natural building materials

This dissertation explores the role that the architectural discipline could play in fostering and maintaining a symbiotic relationship between the natural and built environments. This dissertation attempts to broaden perspectives by exploring material life cycle. Using Garingboom (Agavaceae) as a representative example for natural building materials, the research explores its potential application in a South African context.

The enquiry is carried out at the Werdmuller Centre in Claremont, Cape Town. The building is constructed in a brutalist style with extensive concrete use, therefore, adaptive reuse serves as an appropriate approach since it extends the lifespan of a building that holds a high amount of embodied energy. Moreover, the site appropriately juxtaposes the introduction of natural building materials. An architectural framework is generated by analysing the life cycle of the Werdmuller Centre in its associated social, political, physical, and natural environments. By reflecting on the past for precedent and patterns, and acknowledging the future for growth, an appropriate architectural proposition is applied to demonstrate the cohabitation of the natural and built environments at the Werdmuller Centre.

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