Bet you’ve never seen a bus shelter like this one

2014-08-06 12:29

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Scrap cars repurposed as bus shelters and the temporary transformation of Durban’s main thoroughfare into a pedestrian walkway are a few of the more striking spin-offs from the 25th world congress of the International Union of Architects in the city.

More than 5 000 delegates from around the world are in Durban for the congress, which ends tomorrow. Organisers and participants have set up installations around the city and are conducting talks and walkabouts in historically neglected parts of Durban, in particular Warwick Avenue, through which most of the city’s commuters travel every day.

Sam Carvalho, a Portuguese architect based in Berlin, is among the delegates. He is part of the team that turned a collection of scrap scars, sourced in Durban, into a shelter for pedestrians or bus and taxi passengers in the area between the motorway and Warwick Avenue.

Carvalho, who is part of an organisation called Raumlabor (space laboratory), believes it is important for events such as the congress to affect the space around the city.

His team has created a rather different bus shelter, using old cars to cover a tubular metal frame. A series of benches will be placed under the roofing, which lets in light through the car windows.

“We thought it would be a good idea to create something that people who walk here every day could use. There is a lot of traffic through here and it’s just above the freeway so the idea of using cars came up as a fun way to provide something useful to people.’’

Down the road a team of public participatory theatre students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and French architecture students have created a women’s walk, a hanging fence made from sticks and covered with pictures of the thousands of women who walk past every day.

Three of the students, Nqobile Mthembu, Mfundo Hlatshwayo and Chuma Maphoma, spent Tuesday erecting the walk and performing song and dance for passers-by. Other projects include the creation of a pedestrian area, complete with tables and chairs, at the bottom of West Street.

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