Port Elizabeth’s R1.7 billion Baywest Mall is set to be the catalyst for development of the greater Baywest City precinct.

This is a R6 billion city development planned to comprise residential, commercial, lifestyle and community developments unfolding over the next decade.

The newly constructed mall is the largest retail development in the Eastern Cape with more than 250 shops in the two-level building which will cater for an estimated 800 000 visitors a month.

Project and lead design architect, Joe Struwig, of DHK architects, describes the structure as “new look retail architecture.”

“The success of the design lies in the simplicity of its plan – a cross-ring mall with retail anchors in each corner,” explains Struwig.

He says a number of green design principles were applied to the development such as the use of local materials.

This included the 1 617 000 Cape pavers, supplied by Corobrik, and used to pave more than 30 000 metres2 of the mall and precinct sites.

Supersized paving

Concerned about the sheer size of the paving area, Gareth Leonard, urban design architect of Landmark Studios, said his team considered the options available.

“We were apprehensive about the extent of paving required, particularly if we had to go for the more common precast concrete pavers,” explained Leonard.

Although they engaged with several suppliers, it was eventually decided that concrete pavers would not be the right choice for the development.

Added to this, the municipality had stipulated that no planting or landscaping was allowed in the central medians in the road, which increased the amount of paving across the site.

Leonard says it was at this juncture that Corobrik was engaged, and the option of clay paving was brought to the table.

“One of the primary drawcards of the traditional clay paving is the strong colour which permeates through the paving unit, but also the fact that clay paving units have a considerably longer lifespan than concrete pavers.”

Simple and understated

Deciding on what colour took a number of weeks before the landscaping team settled on the deep red of the Constantia paver, edged with the yellow Wheatstone paver.

“The Constantia red provided a great colour contrast with the landscaping and planting, while the Wheatstone provided a suitable and identifiable break in the larger expanses of Constantia paver,” he explained.

This theme was carried throughout the development, from the surrounding roads and walkways into the mall itself.

Commenting on the brickwork design, Leonard said that, after consultation with the civil contractor and paving installers, the team opted for a simple staggered stretcher bond running parallel with the walkways.

“It’s simple and understated while, at the same time, the depth of the Constantia colour adds considerably to the project and lifts the landscaping, both hard and softscapes to another level.”