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Cradle of Humankind mall underway

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28 Mar 2012

The construction of a new shopping mall in the vicinity of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is well underway.

An artist's impression of the new Cradlestone Mall.

Cradlestone Mall will offer two levels of retail, with a proposed 230 shops and restaurants. There is ample parking available to shoppers with parking deck consisting of four levels, three of which will be undercover.

Aveng Grinaker-LTA's construction contract is due for completion in October 2013.

The shopping centre will have a unique look and feel, with references to the evolutionary finds of the area subtly reflected in the design elements featured in the façade, floors and roof-scapes.

Environmental considerations are high on the agenda and a full time environmental officer will monitor the construction process. The co-developers of the mall are Sasol Pension Fund and Retail Africa.

Safety will be top priority, and Aveng Grinaker-LTA is committed to living its safety vision of “Home Without Harm, Everyone Everyday”, stresses managing director Grahame McCaig.

He notes that a challenge for the contractor will be working with a very limited area available for laydown as the structure progresses, since the footprint of the building falls on the boundary of the site, limiting the space available.

To overcome this constraint, Aveng Grinaker-LTA plans to complete approximately 60% of the retail structure before commencing with the parkade. 

The requirements for slab formwork on this contract will peak at approximately 6 000m2per week of cast concrete over a period of some six months. A total of 92 000 m3of concrete will be used in the project.

Elaborating on the mall's design, Jan Loubser of architects Bentel Associates International, explains that the Cradle of Humankind was the starting point for the design concept.

“We firmly believe in creating an identity for our shopping centres, to ensure a 'sense of place'.”

He says this uniqueness is particularly noteworthy in the face of ever increasing conformity in the layout and 'look and feel' of many current shopping centre projects.

The design sees the stratum of the earth's primordial layering replicated in the floors, ceilings and façade elements, he says. Both the shape and colouration can be found in the roof-scapes and entrances, Loubser says.

The central feature of the external façade - and covering the internal food court and entertainment zones - is the strata and layer shaped central roof-scape, he explains.

“Porous, both visually and physically from the external parking deck, this area spills out onto a public square and garden area.”

He says the landscaping here will hark back to the primordial forest, while around the rest of the centre it will be more in keeping with the Highveld landscape. 

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