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_SHARPEVILLE MEMORIAL GARDEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© GREENinc Landscape Architecture + Urbanism

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Sharpeville Massacre occurred on the 21st of March 1960 when the Pan Africanist Congress organised a protest against pass books which restricted the movements of black Africans. Unfortunately, the protest became violent when the South African Police opened fire at the crowd – killing 69 people. This tragedy increased South Africa’s isolation from the international community and served as a catalyst for the Resistance Movement which led to the fall of Apartheid in 1993.

The Sharpeville Memorial Garden is located within Pelindaba Cemetery (where the 69 graves of those killed are located) and serves as a place of remembrance for the local community and as a venue for both intimate and large memorial events such as the annual gathering on Human Rights Day.

The project was conceived as a “procession through a garden” and was informed by the concepts of memorial, gathering and viewing. These concepts formed important design generators for the memorial space within the context of the cemetery, and its broader context in the Sharpeville Heritage Precinct.

A processional path leads visitors through the cemetery and past the 69 graves. Visitors then progress to the edge of the memorial space and then along the length of a Memorial Wall. This wall is built from locally-sourced clay brick and has a skeletal row of raw-steel columns along its outer edge – each column is topped with a granite flag. These steel columns are representative of people – standing in a row, all facing the same direction. A planter in the top of the wall contains a Freylinia hedge with delicate white flowers which juxtapose the harshness of the steel and granite along the length of the wall.

Upon entering the garden that the visitors discover the large open lawn area, the more intimate amphitheatre (consisting of series of lawned terraces looking out to the distant horizon) and the sculpture installation. This installation, by artist Marco Cianfanelli, represents a permanent “bouquet of flowers” and was created by 156 unique vertical raw-steel poles, each finished off with a black and white granite “flower head,” akin to those left daily on graves in the cemetery.

Finally, visitors reach an elevated viewing platform which juts forward and cantilevers over the landscape, providing a view to the 69 graves, and then further to the township of Sharpeville.

LOCATION

Sharpeville, Gauteng, South Africa

DESIGN FIRM

GREENinc Landscape Architecture and Urbanism

COLLABORATOR

Urban Designer: Albonico Sack Metacity

Consulting Engineer: Trinamics Consulting Engineers

Artist: Marco Cianfanelli

Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon (An AECOM company)

CLIENT

Urban Genesis

CONTRACTOR

Siyahlobisa Qobane (joint venture) and Skydove Horticare (joint venture)

YEAR COMPLETED

2011

TEXT CREDITS

GREENinc Landscape Architecture and Urbanism

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