Lincoln on the Lake, Umhlanga New Town / Gateway, KwaZulu-Natal. THA Architecture & Design for Growthpoint, Louis Group and Key Developments.


Seriously!? It’s usually pretty difficult to knock buildings in the Umhlanga New Town / Gateway precinct. They generally have their urban hearts in the right place. There’s a decent mix of residential and commercial, with retail along the street. Parking is concealed in a way that doesn’t leave the pavement lined with carbon-monoxide-exhaling ventilation and little else. Indeed, this scheme – although still under construction – looks as if it might just tick all those boxes.

But, I guess this is what happens when the major contextual indicator is a shopping mall of Disney proportions. The building borrows liberally from the City Beautiful movement of the 1890s and 1900s in Chicago. Which in turn borrowed from the French Beaux-Arts that preceded it. How is this relevant to an African town centre in the tropics? In 2009? It isn’t. Not even a little bit.

And it has the audacity to tout itself as an environmentally appropriate response. I don’t see any sun control.