The Towers & Merriman Square

Foreshore, Cape Town

In exchange for developmental rights above an important but outdated urban square, Redefine Properties appointed us to redesign this public open space as an ‘urban sanctuary’ within the Foreshore.

We started with an initial master-planning exercise for the City of Cape Town which reimagined the foreshore in terms of Landscape Urbanism, integrating stormwater management strategies with a sheltered network of green infrastructure to provide respite from the exposed foreshore environment.

Within the square, we explored the design of sustainable urban drainage systems as the structuring elements for public place-making while facilitating convenient pedestrian movement and connections to the public transport network. The detailing of the square evokes a marine / wharf environment, referencing the geology and landscape that existed before the foreshore was reclaimed.

Above the square, rainwater is harvested from the roof of the parking garage, stored in tanks and used to irrigate the expansive green façades that span the sides of the building. Overflow water is directed down the enormous columns within the square and into relaxation chambers to dissipate the energy from the fall. The water is then channelled into bio-filtration basins, where it sustains indigenous wetland species and is able to percolate into the groundwater, minimising the burden on the city’s stormwater infrastructure.