n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Arcades revisited as urban interiorsin a transformed city context

Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and is located within the City of Tshwane in the Gauteng Province. The city's Central Business District (CBD) is characterised by a network of arcades and walkways that cut through the long and deep city blocks. In this article, we discuss arcades as urban interiors and the potential of these spaces to become points of social interaction within a transformed city context. We reflect on the original purpose of the arcade and based on criteria derived from a literature review, we critically assess the current use of three arcades and describe challenges experienced in the functioning of these spaces. The design of the building edges that link the interiors to the adjacent arcade space are revisited as a design element that has the potential to reactivate the arcades as urban interiors. Guidelines for improving the city dwellers and daily commuters' experience and use of these spaces as urban interiors are formulated and discussed. These guidelines, although formulated within a South African context, are relative to any urban interior within a city that has lost its sense of place and that needs to be reactivated through the treatment of its surrounding buildings' edges.

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