PRETTY GARDENS LIFESTYLE CENTRE
Situated in Langenhovenpark, a suburb on the outskirts of Bloemfontein, The Square at Pretty Gardens Lifestyle Centre transplants the best of urban living to a suburban setting. Pretty Gardens could be described as a small village, surrounded by open landscape, as was typically found in medieval times. Characteristic aspects of the medieval village such as winding streets, uniformity and surprise, enclosure and an important gathering space are incorporated in the design.
An intimately scaled square forms the nucleus of a mixed-use development consisting of shops, offices and loft-type apartments. The square is the setting for casual encounters, heated discussions and the odd midnight rendezvous. It is made habitable by the inclusion of elements like a wrap-around portico, wide steps and mature trees. In fact, the whole building is surrounded by trees and the image of a tree manifests itself in various aspects of the building: the trunk is suggested by the thick columns, branches by the diagonal roof struts and finally the canopy of leaves by the green roofs.
The materials chosen reflect the fact that this building is rooted in the Free State Province. Sandstone in all its guises is used extensively throughout: rough cut blocks for the columns, honed tiles for the walkways and richly coloured tiles for the walls. Further splashes of colour are provided by mosaics in key areas.
The result is a building that speaks of its time and place, creates inspiring working and living conditions, and encloses a generous outdoor living room to the benefit of the people of Bloemfontein.