Look before you leap: a research and learning centre on the outskirts of Bullfrog Pan. A wetland open to the public in Rynfield, Benoni
Murray, Megan Jean
This project embodies the dichotomy between conservation and preservation. Furthermore, it delves into the complex history of the site and the design challenges that follow from its history and use. The project is built on a rehabilitated landfill site, and is now known as Bullfrog Pan Conservancy. The challenges with pre-existing landfill sites are unstable and unsettled ground, as well as the gases, such as methane, trapped beneath the surface. These gases can be harvested for energy and used for electricity or cooking. The programme of the building is a learning and research centre for professionals and an interactive learning centre for children. Other programmes include a restaurant and amphitheatre. The learning and research aspect is focused on bullfrogs, other species in the ecosystem, pan rehabilitation and the water quality as this is a precious resource that needs to be taken care of. The project consists of four individual buildings, housing each of the project programmes. These buildings are above, below and built on top of the ground. Building above the ground allows for the ecosystems to continue below the building, whereas building below the ground communicates a relationship with the bullfrogs when they burrow under the ground. Building on ground level deals with the challenges associated with building on top of a landfill site, a future direction for architecture to engage with, as the field moves to address the future challenges relating to space, rehabilitation of land, and sustainable waste management.
A dissertation submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional) to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand, 2023