The Watershed [Photo credit: Andrew Brown, supplied by the V&A Waterfront]
South Africa’s new home for African craft and design, the V&A Waterfront’s Watershed, was itself recognised twice-over for its design and redevelopment at two prestigious awards ceremonies on the same evening this week.
The V&A Waterfront’s innovative architectural approach to the R50-million redevelopment of a former craft market and disused workshop, into a spacious, bustling hub for quality African art and design now known as the Watershed, was recognised at both this year’s Cape Institute for Architecture (CIfA) Awards and at the 19th Annual South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) Congress on Wednesday, 30 September.
The Watershed was one of only 12 developments in the Western Cape to receive a CIfA Award for Architecture this year, with the Institute commending the re-imagining of a closed, warehouse space into an open-ended ‘indoor street’ that is a lively hub for small businesses.
“There is something about the collective nature of [a] street that brings us firmly in relation to each other… The project beautifully demonstrates the possibility of a more integrated, diverse society,” said the Institute in conferring the award.
The Watershed was also named a co-winner in the ‘Redevelopment of Existing Space’ award category at the SACSC Congress’s Annual Retail Design & Development Awards (RDDA) that same evening. The prestigious awards recognise exceptional shopping centre design combined with economic success within the SA property industry. They have a particular interest in developments with excellent design solutions, and those that achieve a clear overall development goal. A development project’s positive response to its market and its surroundings, use of innovative design and construction solutions, and its embracing sustainable design and business techniques are also heavily weighted.
Formerly the Craft Market and Wellness Centre and commonly known as the Blue Shed, the historic warehouse structure of the Watershed was completely reimagined by the V&A Waterfront and Wolff Architects, and opened to the public for trade in early October 2014.
The now open-ended building has been transformed into double-volume height, with a 100m-long skylight ensuring an abundance of natural light. The southern façade sheeting has been replaced by glass overlooking the Robinson Dry Dock and Table Mountain.
Today, the curated space of the Watershed offers a platform to talented, emerging designers and showcases more than 150 tenants, jointly representing over 365 fresh and innovative brands ranging from ceramics and furniture to textiles, fashion and jewellery.
The Watershed also includes 1000m² of dedicated exhibition and eventing space, a wellness centre and Workshop17, the innovation technology hub developed by the V&A Waterfront, and managed by co-working space operator and partner in the initiative, OPEN.