Art for street space

2015-11-10 06:00
 Designers can submit proposals for the old banking hall facade in Castle Street to make it a friendlier public space. PHOTO: Lisa Burnell/ Cape Town partnership

Designers can submit proposals for the old banking hall facade in Castle Street to make it a friendlier public space. PHOTO: Lisa Burnell/ Cape Town partnership

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Designers are being called to transform an inner-city walkway to create an accessible and inclusive space.

The Cape Town Partnership is running a competition to transform the old banking hall in Castle Street, with winning designers having the opportunity to install their work in this public space.

The current space, on the corner of St George’s Mall, is inactive, has a dark facade and is uninviting, explains project manager Alex Jongens.

“Along that stretch of Castle Street there is nothing that encourages people to stay in the space, have a conversation or look at something of interest. As such, it is only used as a thoroughfare – it’s a busy pedestrian street,” she says.

This is a missed opportunity for engagement with the public, Jongens believes.

“Cape Town’s CBD has so few pedestrianised streets. Those that exist should be used to their full potential. Activating this facade, encouraging people to stay in the space by proving seats and things of interest will surely change the dynamic of Castle Street for the better,” she says.

Castle Street, formally known as Heere Street but renamed in 1790, is one of the first three streets to be named in Cape Town. It is said to have been the primary link along which people moved stone, a primary building material, from the Strand Street quarry to the Castle of Good Hope.

Castle Street was pedestrianised during the second phase of redeveloping St George’s Mall in 1988. In the last few years, benches have been installed at the junction of Castle Street and St George’s Mall.

Accessible public spaces are fundamental for a healthy, efficient and democratic society, explains Jongens.

“Accessible public spaces allow citizens to move through a city, experience a city, spend time in a city and provide access to information (and possibly opportunities),” she says.

“Cape Town’s public spaces have a long way to go to be truly accessible. However, there are many public space-focused initiatives by different public and private agencies that are taking measures to improve the inaccessibility.”

The proposals will be judged by a panel of experts working in the urban sector and will receive funding from Cape Sun, which identified the need to improve the stretch for the public.


For more information email Jongens on or visit

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