Bio-Dye Centre

Bio-Dye Centre

north-end | gqeberha | south africa


This concept proposal concentrates on the neglected and under-used space of a former exciting, synergistic and community-operated place viz. The North End Lake in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The dyeing, colouring and printing industry of the world is generally still making use of synthetic pigments, dyes and colourants. Although significant advances have been made regarding the ecological approach to the industry, not enough emphasis and pressure has been put on the current norm. The processes and by-products of various synthetic pigments, dyes and colourants are extremely destructive; new solutions need to be considered for a radical change in the industry. Moving into the dyeing/pigmentation and colouring industry – with set standards and a rigid programmatical dogma – has palpable challenges yet, a specific and imaginative facility is needed to encapsulate and enhance the essence, emotion and environment for a revolutionary industrial complex. The proposed concept would be the starting point (conceptually) towards an enhanced ecological and public identity (of industrial settings) for Gqeberha by reinventing the current ecological, industrial and public and experiential character of North End Lake and the city in the future.

This project proposal will not just represent the community, cater to their needs and defines the notion of a revolution (or rather, revelation), but acts as a complex matrix where connections of all parts – the intricate and tangled relationship between nature, the built environment and people – are considered. It will be influenced by the site and its surrounding to patch the evident puncture seamlessly with elegance and subtilty.


The site is a triangular-shaped site on the South-edge of the North End Lake, in North End, Gqeberha. The site sits in a mixed-use (predominantly, industrial) suburb, located north of the CBD and is positioned between the Nelson Mandela Stadium and the Coca-Cola bottling factory. The site is currently used as a parking lot for cars as well as an access point for trucks.

Owing to the high industrial zoning of this area and the ongoing industrial development, the area has deteriorated as a community and social area – it has become a black hole siphoning the life of everything in and around it. The public realm was not taken into account when these industrial zones were built up because there are still many clusters of residential areas which are a street away from the industrial area. The industrial development caused “aesthetic pollution” which is a result of these industrial zones not taking into consideration their impact on the ecological factors of the site as well as the aesthetic factors. The increased industrial development lead to a ruined ecological system – leading to growth of algae and deterioration of the lake, as well as the belittling of the public and social realms that previously existed.


The bio-dye plant aims to rehabilitate the derelict nature of the North End Lake site on various premises. The Lake itself is in desperate need of rehabilitation and cleaning (through means of well-designed architecture and processes). The once-loved and vibrant site needs to be taken into consideration by activating all its edges with ties to the deprived community. This proposal would set itself apart from former industrial and factory-like projects in that it opens its doors to the public on an urban scale – injecting much needed vibrancy, energy and income into the site and immediate surrounding community.

Architectural Challenges:

  • Public accessibility to a factory-like complex. Creating a vibrant public space by redefining how factories/plant-facilities interact with the public realm.
  • Re-defining the edge of the lake to remain public.
  • Street edge condition. How will the site respond to this?
  • Creating an architectural link between the existing and proposed structures. This includes physical appearances as well as typologies.
  • Security on and around the site.


Slide the Bar to view the Proposal on the Site

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s