Botswana : Game City Shopping Centre Gets Facelift

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GAME CITY EXTENSION AND DESIGN UPDATE TO GIVE SHOPPING CENTRE A FACELIFT

Game City, Gaborone's largest shopping centre, is gaining another 7,000 m2 of additional retail space and an enhanced design that could be continued throughout the shopping centre. Designed by MDS Architecture, the extension is currently under construction and due for completion in August 2010.

Pierre Lahaye, a partner at MDS Architecture, says that the extension features a new mall and covered walkway, sculptural ceilings and higher shop fronts.


Reconfiguring the mall

The extension has created a whole new mall, adding more shops adjacent to the existing stores and enclosing the walkway between the two. The exterior of the new section augments the design of the existing building, using facebrick and arches for a classic feel. 

"The new covered walkway's architectural feel evokes a cloister and a sense of abundant volume and space," comments Lahaye. The covered walkway serves a dual purpose, housing all the air conditioning units on its flat roof and therefore allowing the new stores to face outwards (the existing stores are serviced from the back of the mall). 

"The philosophy of a strip mall is different to that of an internal mall," explains Lahaye, "By reconfiguring the shopping centre, we have brought it in line with contemporary trends. Shoppers want convenience and comfort, air-conditioned spaces and natural light in their shopping centres." The new extension features coved lighting, higher shop fronts and disabled access.

The parking that was given over to the extension is being replaced with a new parking area near the cinemas. Existing fever trees in the parking area were relocated to maintain the landscape and provide shade. The planting is quite dense - to the tune of a tree every second parking bay - creating a shaded canopy over the parking area.

Enhancing the existing building

As part of this project, interior design changes are also being implemented in the existing shopping centre. The toilets have been re-planned and reconfigured, in line with contemporary shopping centre design. They are also being completely refurbished and the lighting and ceilings are being upgraded. "This is where shoppers come into closest contact with a building, so it is important that the toilets feel light, airy and safe," says Lahaye.

Entrances are being upgraded with new tiling, lighting and ceilings to ensure that there is continuity with the extension. 
There is a proposal on the table to revamp more areas in the existing building, including the existing mall and the cinema/restaurant/Edgars court areas to lift up lighting levels. "The initial areas being refurbished will give a good indication of how the entire shopping centre can be boosted," says Lahaye.

Challenges

Managing the various levels was a challenge. The existing building is on two levels and MDS Architecture needed to keep cognizance of the flow of movement. For this reason, a number of ramps were utilized. The parking area steps down three levels from the walkway, but the team found a reasonable place to change levels and still maintain flow.

It is always difficult to undertake extensions and refurbishments with minimal disruption to existing tenants, who still need to trade during the process. Says Lahaye: "We also have to ensure the safety of shoppers at all times, and this extends to ensuring that the existing walkway is completely safe."

The excessive rains experienced this summer have put pressure on the contractor in meeting the timelines, as well as logistical challenges of managing certain materials that need to be imported. "The local contractor, BJ Builders, has really managed the project well. We are seeing great quality work from them and efficiency on site, especially in light of the challenges," says Lahaye.

The Game City extension promises to offer contemporary experience for the modern shopper when it is completed later this year. "In the final analysis, the clean feel at Game City - one that is not themed or stylized - will offer a new level of sophistication, convenience and shopping pleasure," concludes Lahaye.



PROFESSIONAL TEAM
CLIENT: TURNSTAR
ARCHITECT: MDS ARCHITECTURE
MAIN CONTRACTOR: BJ BUILDERS
CENTRE MANAGEMENT: KHUMO
QUANTITY SURVEYORS: MMILE MHUTSIWA & ASSOCIATES
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: IQS
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: DHP
STRUCTURAL CIVIL ENGINEER AND PROJECT MANAGER: ABDULLA ASSOCIATES
FIRE CONSULTANTS: FIRE CONTROL SYSTEMS

MDS ARCHITECTURE
MDS Architecture is an award-winning practice that has designed buildings that attract the business, the people and the activity that lead to a sustained performance. With a proud reputation spanning over 50 years, the practice is renowned for its skill in the sectors of hospitality and leisure, retail developments, offices, residential buildings and interiors. For more information on MDS Architecture, visit http://www.mdsarch.co.za