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GLOBAL AWARD FOR GATEWAY (article first published : 2003-04-24)

Gateway Theatre of Shopping, the retail, leisure and entertainment complex which opened as a focal point of Umhlanga in September 2001, has won an international design and development merit award from the International Council of Shopping Centres.

Developed and managed by Old Mutual Properties, Gateway was a winner in the category for innovative design and construction of a new project. It was designed by RTKL Associates of Baltimore, Maryland, while its Expo Xplore entertainment area was designed by the US-based Development Design Group. Local management was by Durban-based Johnson Murray Architects who were responsible for all working drawings and management of the architectural process.

Gateway was one of only 12 complexes around the world to earn a category certificate of merit from the New York-based council. The awards committee recognized Gateway as unique to the market and as a catalyst for the development of a flourishing town centre, with the developer’s clarity of vision creating a project of international distinction and sustained economic benefit to the region.

This is the sixth ICSC award made over the last eight years to centres developed and managed by Old Mutual Properties. Other centres to gain design or merit awards are Menlyn Park in Pretoria, Eastgate and Westgate in Harare, Cavendish Square in Cape Town, and The Zone @ Rosebank, in Johannesburg.

The award submission noted that when architects and designers were called in to create Gateway, a master plan for Umhlanga’s new town centre had already been laid. The goal for Gateway was to attract a broad range of shoppers to a destination that would feel like a natural extension of the future town centre, while fuelling its development.

“To achieve this, Gateway was designed by turning the inside out. Rejecting initial suggestions of a fully enclosed mall, designers and developers created a true place - one that combined the traditional mall with open air spaces, varied entertainment and a transitional feel that creates the infrastructure of the new town centre.”

The submission said that by integrating international design and architecture, the project raised the bar for shopping centres in South Africa.

“An essential component of the design was to divide the large shopping centre into different spaces, each with different environmental design themes. Five separate entrances lead to different parts of the mall, easily distinguishable by their interior motifs.”

The submission said other developers would benefit from using an integration of graphic design and commercial architecture.

“From Gateway’s inception, graphic designers and architects worked closely to create collaborative theming, which resulted in a seamless design. It solves practical concerns of wayfinding - especially in a place of such considerable scale and scope. Not only does the fluid integration of comprehensible signage help patrons navigate the shopping centre, wayfinding also encourages visitors to explore deeper into the project. In addition, environmental graphics turned Gateway into a place by connecting to the consumer through design motifs and a distinctive colour palette.”




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