Waters Edge is an urban-based development comprising a new residential apartment building looking towards Intaka Island, an E-parking structure that is positioned as a buffer building to Canal Walk, and a promenade park along the canal edge. This composition of buildings and public space is designed to create a dynamic urban living place at the edge of the water body surrounding Century City’s award-winning wetlands nature reserve. The site’s existing pedestrian desire lines, the canal edge and the proximity to Intaka Island served as the primary influences on the urban and architectural concept of the development, and informed the two principal ideas that shaped the design.
  1. The Creation of an Urban Plaza
The residential building is raised above the ground plane and is supported on urban-scaled columns. This allows for the movement of people and the greening of the plaza. Gateways are formed by cut-outs in the residential building to allow visual connections through to Intaka Island. A habitable spine wall snakes around the development at ground level, providing an area for storage and a boat shed. This opens out at the canal edge and at pedestrian routes to activate the interface between the private and public realm. The urban plaza also transitions from a landscaped pedestrian and parking zone on the Canal Walk side to a terraced, landscape promenade on the canal edge. This creates an urban threshold that allows for promenade activity, and a green park edge that mimics and responds sensitively to the natural setting of the Intaka Island bank.
  1. Architecture shaped by the landscape and nature
The residential building is perched on urban columns, which are inspired by the frameworks of the man-made heronries at Intaka Island. While allowing free movement and landscaping growth on the ground plane, these columns support a sculptural building form that is shaped by the contour edge of the canal and organically follows the direction of the prevailing wind. The building pulls back from the canal edge to allow for a park at ground level, fronting the site facing Intaka Island, serving as a desirable urban interface and a setting for pedestrian activity – and the occasional visit from local birdlife! The residential building is composed of various elements that are brought together based on nature’s own design principles of ‘dazzle camouflage’. This principle makes use of irregular patterns to reduce scale and allows for subtle background matching, making the building complementary to the composition of the canal-facing skyline at Century City. The arrangement of the residential units is inspired by the idea of ‘nests’, by means of creating a facade of apartments that are placed in a dappled pattern to bring a more organic and natural order to the building. Curved elements and reed-like screens featured in the building emphasize the soft contouring of the architecture and breakdown the building into a series of elements. The soft silhouette of the edifice has been shaped to create a subtle and sensitive backdrop to the conserved wetlands and the thriving bird sanctuary, while allowing residents of Waters Edge to enjoy the panoramic north-facing views over Intaka Island. Click here to view the original article.