The primary goal of the Bonteheuwel Town Centre Upgrade was to transform Freedom Square into a multifunctional and inclusive space that serves the needs of the community. Key objectives included: Creating a comfortable and secure gathering space for the community to engage in various activities; Improving entrances, exits, routes, and parking areas for enhanced accessibility and convenience; Designing the space to accommodate markets, events, performances, playgrounds, and memory preservation; Serving as a catalyst for initiatives such as gardening, community security, fitness paths, open hoods, and clean-up efforts; : Incorporating historical elements like the Old Library Staircase and existing trees into the design; and implementing sustainable landscaping with indigenous trees and plants to create microclimates and enhance the environment.

The project’s concept and early design and public participation process was initially done by Tarna Klitzner Landscape Architects, and further detail development up to construction phase by Terra+ Landscape Architects. There were interesting changes additions and deletions of the design to finally have a  design which maintains a cohesive language throughout the space, including a well-thought-out paving scheme that guides visitors from the Library’s entrance through the site, connecting different areas and functions. The Old Library Staircase, with significant heritage value, and existing trees were preserved, and over sixty indigenous trees and various hardy plant species were integrated.

Art plays a crucial role in the project’s identity. Local artist Lorenzo Nassimbeni facilitated workshops with children to create art pieces embedded in the flooring of the central oval gathering space. These art pieces radiate from the center and extend to a security screen for the Library. Two murals on adjacent building walls were also created under Lorenzo’s guidance by local artists. The art elements extend to the playground, with painted stepping stones showcasing the project’s yellow, blue, and red colour palette.

The predominant challenge with this project lies in the environment where it is situated. The project also faced issues with substandard workmanship, leading to difficulties in achieving quality fixings and paving. Post-construction maintenance posed another challenge. Addressing these issues necessitated more frequent check-ups and meticulous on-site inspections during construction. Special attention was dedicated to the preparation of snag lists, identifying all instances of poor craftsmanship and updating them until a satisfactory level of quality was attained.

The Bonteheuwel Town Centre Upgrade in Bonteheuwel stands as a compelling candidate for the LILA – Landezine International Landscape Award 2024. This transformative project, driven by the collaborative efforts of Tarna Klitzner Landscape Architects in conceptualization and Terra+ Landscape Architects in construction detailing and -overseeing, significantly enhances to Freedom Square and the entrance and forecourt to the library from concept to installation. The final product is a multifunctional and inclusive space that caters to the diverse needs of the community of Bonteheuwel.

The project adds value to the landscape, with a particular focus on improving social and ecological well-being. Key objectives, meticulously addressed through the design, include creating a secure community gathering space, enhancing accessibility, and incorporating versatile elements such as markets, events, performances, playgrounds, and memory preservation. Notably, the project serves as a catalyst for various community initiatives, fostering gardening, security, fitness, and clean-up efforts.

In summary, the Bonteheuwel Town Centre Upgrade exemplifies excellence in Landscape Architecture, by addressing social and ecological challenges, enhancing the landscape, and contributing significantly to the well-being of the community.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape:
TKLA – Tarna Klitzner Landscape Architects;
Lorenzo Nassimbeni (main artist);

14 Honeysuckle St, Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, 7764

Design year:
The inception and concept development of the project was initiated by TKLA in 2020 and taken over by Terra+ Landscape Architects in March 2021.

Year Completed:
The project was followed through to completion in October 2023


LILA 2024 Sponsor