Matlosana Mall – Klerksdorp’s new shopping and entertainment Mecca

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Matlosana Mall on the outskirts of Klerksdorp in the North West, is situated on the N12 highway giving this mall high visibility and easy access from both Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom, about half an hour’s drive away.  With its eye-catching structural architecture at the main entrance, and all the trappings of a major mall – three major food anchors as well as fashion, lifestyle, entertainment, sport and restaurant offerings, with space to accommodate 145 stores in total - this brand new development is sure to become the go-to destination in the area.

The investment in this property – over 1.1 billion rand - signals confidence in the commercial growth in this area.  Matlosana Mall created approximately 2,000 temporary jobs during the 19 months of construction, and 1,500 permanent jobs now that the mall has opened.

This project was possible due to a collaborative effort between KLS Consulting and Stauch Vorster Architects.

Challenges and solutions

This site, as well as the overall look and feel of the finished building presented the architects and structural engineers with numerous challenges.

“We had to be mindful of how this project would be contextualised in its surrounding environment,” said Paul Symondson, Executive at Stauch Vorster Architects International. “As much as we now live in a global community, while the International style has created buildings that can be placed almost in any part of the world, these buildings are often without a sense of belonging, which can create a rupture between the community and the building.”

The philosophy for Matlosana Mall was to use a contemporary design interpretation of the cultural and historical context that the mall would be built in, through the use of clean, simple lines.

The region of Matlosana has a rich cultural diversity, including the indigenous people and the Voortrekkers who moved there. Early BaTswana communities in the area were known for their pottery and basket weaving, as well as for being very welcoming people. They constructed circular village layouts with circular domed huts as their unit. Sotho communities were known for their metalworking, and early Voortrekkers in the 1800's are remembered for their timberwork and curved steel wagons. This amalgamation of cultures gave the architects the inspiration for the design.

As Matlosana is known as a ‘place of light’, the designers sought a sustainable solution to bathe the building in natural light, but at the same time control the temperature and create a comfortable environment. For this purpose they introduced strip skylights along the mall to be used as light wells, bouncing light along white surfaces to illuminate the interior (see image).

Matlosana Mall has been created in a modern interpretation of ancestral buildings in the form of the eye-catching curved vertical timber cladding over the main entrance of the building.  This slatted facade provides shade from the northern sun, and acts as a landmark for the development, welcoming visitors to the main entrance atrium.

References to the mining history of the North West province are also noticeable in the stone cladding at the main entrance wall. The materials were carefully considered in order to contrast in texture but harmonize within the context.

The food court and main atrium create a transitional space between the outside and the inside of the building.

“The slim steel designs in the main atrium required very accurate geometry for the detailed design. Autodesk software was used, which eased the geometrical implementation into our design software,” said Francois de Villiers from KLS Consulting Engineers.

The colour palette chosen for the outside walls was influenced by the surrounding landscape. The North West province has its characteristic highveld semi-arid landscape, with grassy and bushy vegetation. Colours harmonious with the surroundings were used, along with some dark brown accents in order to articulate the length of the mall.

The mall’s cutting edge design also incorporates best practice green building principles, which are being implemented as far as possible, including energy-efficient lighting.

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Issue 29


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