The speed gateway: a facility for the upliftment and promotion of South Africa's motorsport culture

Andrade, Ricardo Miguel Gois
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Globally people are at the edge of their seats wide-eyed with passion and awe for the spectacular and entertaining world of motor racing, admiring the world’s most powerful machines and talented drivers battling through the race tracks with lightning speed and outstanding agility. Due to lack of public support, poor management and funding the motorsport culture is rapidly dying out and race tracks are becoming exceedingly underutilized in South Africa. Through Architectural intervention, the aim is to transform the underutilized Kyalami race track into a vibrant and entertaining motorsport venue that will integrate motorsport back into society and preserve this iconic race track that maintains the national motorsport culture alive. Apart from the shear entertainment value motorsport provides it has always united people from around the globe and enabled the production of some of the most technologically advanced machines of our time. Recognising the tremendous value motor racing had, the iconic Kyalami race track was built in South Africa, situated between Johannesburg and Pretoria, which hosted a great number of International Grand Prix events. Motorsport soon gained a major cultural, political, social, economic and spatial presence in South Africa. After almost three decades the race track was removed from the Formula 1 Grand Prix calendar, among other major motorsport calendars, due to sanctions. The poor entertainment value over recent years has led to a major decline in public and sponsor interest in local motorsport. In return Kyalami has become unsustainable which, in the past year, nearly led to the loss of the iconic race track which would have further rendered the local motorsport culture extinct. This recurring scenario around the country becomes the vital point of enquiry for this thesis; the role of Architecture in promoting the motorsport culture; the long-standing relationship between the automobile and Man and its influence on the urban fabric and architecture that is part of our everyday experience. Sited on the Kyalami race track, the architectural design will include an urban framework that will better integrate the current isolated race track with its surrounding context. The framework will include outdoor public activity spaces as well as research, training and workshop facilities that will accommodate the public’s needs and interests at the same time uplift and promote both the automobile and motorsport industry. The primary Kyalami Motorsport Centre sited by the existing southern pit complex will not only offer an enhanced trackside and racing experience to both spectators and race teams but the necessary auto-tecture that will host thrilling motorsport events and promote the nation’s young talented drivers
This document is submitted in partial fulfilment for the degree: Masters of Architecture (Professional) University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2015
Andrade, Ricardo Miguel Gois (2016) The speed gateway: a facility for the upliftment and promotion of South Africa's motorsport culture, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>