Green Moor Gills: the exploration of recultivating wetlands through building technologies in the urban environment, Melrose Arch Precinct, Johannesburg

Linden, Hope
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In Johannesburg, there has been a significant decrease in the number of wetlands due to urbanisation. Wetlands and other freshwater systems play a critical role in providing essential ecosystem services vital to our survival. (Academic, 2019) This has led to an unbalance of the amount of natural wetlands left within the country as an after effect of increasing populations and developments. Due to the limited amount of land available within urban areas, buildings may need to learn how to behave like wetlands to balance and respond to environmental requirements. Questioning how a building can replicate the significance of a wetland through upcoming green building technologies or support it? This research report explores the significance that a wetland plays within an urban area and how it can be reimplemented into urban areas through various building technologies as part of a series of urban systems. Information will be gathered through precedent studies, physical investigations and resources online to devise solutions for the current problem wetlands are currently facing in urban areas. The design, located in the Melrose Arch Precinct, in the north of Johannesburg, will work in coherence with the last existing wetland in the James and Ethel Gray Park in Johannesburg, just a few kilometers away. The extent of the site boundary that has been selected as the means for architectural exploration will be explored through the layers of the site. The proposed program comprises of a research centre, recreational park, hyacinth laboratory, and ecology centre that will embody the process of natural water filtration from the Jukskei River and existing wetland. The proposition’s design and technological systems are intended to restore the natural ecosystem of a wetland and recultivate the impact of a wetland back into the urban environment.
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