Life

Civil servants' pee will be used to water a new green feature in Cape Town

Business Insider SA
    Artist impression of the Dome of Plants in the Cape Town foreshore once completed. (Supplied)
    • The Dome of Plants is expected to "revamp the largely stagnant and grey" Luthuli Plaza in the Cape Town foreshore.
    • The design use purified urine as a source of water.
    • The project is set to be completed by February 2019, subject to approval by the City of Cape Town. 

    Purified urine from bureaucrats working in the Cape Town Civic centre is set to water a new dome on Cape Town's iconic Luthuli Plaza next to the Artscape Theatre.

    Announced at Design Indaba 2018, the Dome of Plants was designed Dutch-based LOLA Architects to "revamp the largely stagnant and grey" plaza. 

    It is expected to be completed by February 2019 - in time for the next Design Indaba - subject to approval from the City. 

    LOLA's Peter Veenstra, a landscape architect, was tasked by Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo to develop a proposal to transform the elevated plaza. 

    His response was the green dome which will "offer an inviting garden-like space for urban encounters".

    A current view of Luthuli Plaza (supplied)

    Given that Cape Town is in the midst of a severe water crisis, the design is "water neutral". 

    Speaking to Dezeen following the announcement, Veenstra said he approached a group of Belgian scientists who helped design a system that would "re-use pee from the civil servants" by filtering the urine to help it support plant life.

    He said the dome will mostly be constructed from biological materials such as bamboo, and will feature indigenous fynbos plants like Spekboom which is known for its outstanding ability to absorb carbon dioxide.

    "[It will] offer space for discussions, events, workshops, exhibitions, meetings, lunch and a quick coffee outside the big institutions, accessible for everyone," LOLA said in a statement. 

     "It is an attractive third place, and can become a hotspot in the cultural life of Cape Town."

    Luthuli Plaza was constructed to connect the transport hub where people catch taxis, trains and buses to the Artscape precinct. It is named after chief Albert Luthuli who won the Nobel Peace Prize for opposing minority white rule in South Africa and leading a non-violent movement against apartheid. 

    The location of the dome on Luthuli Plaza.


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