warwick junction

Warwick Junction is a magic and fascinating place, very unique in its character, a fantastic mixture of social, cultural and historical values which should be preserved .

place: South Africa | Durban
type: academic work | MASTER THESIS
design: June 2011
authors: Karolina Tarkowska, Pawel Kochanski




Warwick Junction lies on the edge of the Durban’s inner-city and is the primary public transport interchange in the city. On an average day the area accommodates 460 000 commuters, and at least 6000 street vendors. Given the confluence of rail, taxi and bus transport, this area has always been a natural market for street vendors. The Markets of Warwick includes between 5000 and 8000 vendors trading in 9 distinct markets.
Currently this is the only informally structured market in a public space of this magnitude, and thus establishes itself as the single most authentic African market that South Africa has to offer. The products available vary from beadwork, traditional arts and crafts, traditional cuisine, fresh produce, music and entertainment merchandise, clothing, accessories and traditional medicine. To appreciate the diversity and success of the markets today, the historical significance of the Warwick area is important.




characteristic elements

Steeped in racial discrimination, the Warwick area was neglected and abandoned by the apartheid government. It was initially Indian indentured labourers who began trading on the street sidewalks in this area, and for example, built the beautiful Badsha Peer Shrine which remains an iconic piece of architecture in Brook Street. With the gradual influx of black African traders into the area, Warwick became a central hub of commerce and trading activity. It was only in the late 1980s that traders were given recognition for their economic contribution and granted permission to remain in specifically allocated trading locations on the streets. Since then trader committees have been established to work alongside the Municipality and various sector support organizations to create and maintain an effective informal trading location benefiting the traders and the 70, 000 – 100, 000 people who depend on these vendors’ income.


analysis mental map


Warwick Junction is a magic and fascinating place, very unique in its character, a fantastic mixture of social, cultural and historical values which should be preserved. A part of the approach to this project was defining long term strategy for Warwick Junction. After all analisys the conclusion was that it should be based on three main elements:
ECOLOGY&ECONOMY -Warwick’s Junction ecosystem is based on people flow. Movement of people is a crucial element and it has to be kept. Because of that, instead of concentration of elements further development should be based on circulation! That is why a 9 MARKETS LOOP is proposed as a main idea to allow Warwick Junction to work the way it does and make it even better! Ecological approach should be based on ecology of society, sustainability of Warwick Junction’s balanced Ecosystem, protecting it’s unique symbiotic microcosm.
SOCIAL INTERVENTION – In social intervention local engagement is crucial, it creates close relationship and responsibility for the results. In this intervention improvement of safety and comfort should play the main role. Proposed Community Center will play the role of sharing and participating platform, local ‘agora’ for people of Warwick Junction.
NEW BRAND (place marketing) – Warwick Junction plays important role in the city, place where you can experience real South African spirit. It’s soul and spirit has to be preserved in city’s landscape! Crucial strategy for Warwick Junction is to reintroduce it to the city of Durban create a new distinguishable brand that will change its recognition, make it attractive for Durban citizens and show its compelling values! Introducing new landmark will emphasize role of Warwick Junction as an attractive and fascinating place to be!




place in the city



aerial view


Shelter tower is an ‘exclamation mark’ of Warwick Junction district. Its fun and extraordinary shape will be distinguishable and visible from distance. That is a part of Warwick’s face changing, making it reckognizable, interesting, a pleace wort visiting. Such structure looks fascinating, brings on mind HIGH-TEC buildings, eventough it is actually more a LOW-TEC structure. It looks also like some artistic structure, and if decorated by local people- it could really be a great piece of art. Something that they could identify themselves with!
It was important to research and define needs of local society. Warwick markets were developing with different levels of infrastructural support. One of the missing elements was the lack of sleeping facilities. Vertical tents hanging on its structure work as a temporary shelters for rent. They could be easily folded and moved. Tents could be rented from local Society Center. One tent is big enough to fit a family of two adults and a kid. During the night some of the tents will shine , when lit from the inside and make it look like huge lantern.
Construction of ShelterTower is made of scaffoldings, which might be donated by local construction companies. Simplicity of construction makes it possible for local community to participate in assembly process. Mounting of elements does not require qualified workers. Another advantage of such type of construction is its transparency. Lack of walls and ‘dark spots’ allows visual control and increases safety. Tower is also a great observatory point, and this have a strong impact on security comfort. Shelter tower proposed in this project is supposed to be not onle a sleeping place, some kind of a vertical camping, but also a viewpoint. It somehow plays role of a ‘watchtower’, that might increase safety, thanks to so called “neighbourhood control”.
In the middle of the structure, in its central part huge nets are hung. They protect users from falling down the structure, but also work as a giant hammocks, a perfect place to rest and relax.




isometric view


public space detail



urban furniture and space programming



shelter tower



physical model


cultural center in Warwick station

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