Princess Magogo Stadium, KwaMashu Durban. Choromanski Architects

#Green Building Principles in #KwaMashu Durban – #FIFA 2010 training venue

#Princess Magogo Stadium -KwaMashu Durban – FIFA 2010 training venue

Article by Dean Ramlal

The project was initiated by the Strategic Projects Unit, of the eThekwini Municipality of the City of Durban in 2007,when it called for request for design tender proposals for upgrade to existing training and sports stadiums within KwaMashu, Umlazi, and Cleremont Townships, which were earmarked as Training Venues for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

As part of the PMSA consortium, our team and Urban Architects were awarded the tender for the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu, which was built from the design principles submitted in our proposal. Having previously worked with the eThekwini Municipality in developing the Urban Strategy and implementing the Infrastructure Upgrade for the Town Centre of KwaMashu, our design principles reinforced the vision of “Place Making “ for this area. The Urban Strategy included the construction of a Public Paved Walkway /Promenade with accessible ramps and stairs which replaced an existing footpath. This Walkway strategically connects pedestrians from the Taxi and Rail Interchange at the lower end of the Town Centre, through the new Park, Sports Precinct and Stadium at the higher level of the site and finally into the surrounding residential areas.


The stadium property shares its western boundary with several dwellings, which had over the years constructed walls and fences that encroached over the boundary. The boundary was realigned allocating the encroaching areas to the property owners at no cost, saving their walls and in some cases, their outbuildings.


The additions and alterations to the existing facility in a practical,simple application informed the following :

The original grandstand comprised of covered and open seating at a very shallow angle divided by a concourse. In order to accommodate two additional floors while maintaining the original roof height proved to be challenging. This was overcome by removing the three rows of pre-cast seating to get sufficient headroom for suites. Increasing the length of the grandstand compensated for the loss of seats. The lower level of seating was demolished and new pre-cast seating built with a sharper angle similar to that of the grandstand. This allowed the provision of a grassed athletic track, which could be upgraded to a tartan track in the future.

In order to meet the accommodation schedule requirements the length of the grandstand was increased from 55m to 110m,straddling the athletic track.

The grandstand comprises of three floors which incorporates the following functions:

  • Ground floor – change rooms, referees rooms, technical rooms, first aid rooms, doping rooms and public ablution facilities
  • First floor – Offices, VIP Ablutions, Stadium Management offices and staff facilities.
  • Second floor – Suites including Presidential Suite and Entertainment Suites, Venue operating centre and Media facilities.

After liaising with “MNET Supersport” the roof structure was strengthened to accommodate three television camera platforms. Camera platforms were previously set up on scaffolding in front of the grandstand obstructing the view and taking up seating space.The facility was now able to televise night games.


The offices were to accommodate Sports and Recreational Development of the City for coordination of sports development.


As the existing pitch had to be re-laid to conform to the alignment of the extended grandstand, the team upgraded the specification of the pitch to match that of the main stadium, ie Moses Mabhida. This pitch was to support the Moses Mabhida Stadium should there have been an issue with the main stadium’s field. Re-laying the pitch was closely monitored by the local councilors and very favorably commended by FIFA pitch inspectors and has become one of the best in the country due to its drainage system.


The project adheres to green principles from the conceptual stage, with the city environmental department contributing towards the implementation of green goals as follows:

100 000 litres of water a day, therefore two 100 000 litre water tanks were constructed, of which one is dedicated to the pitch. The drainage system is linked back to a pump, to reclaim between 50-60% of the water used to irrigate the pitch, as well as recycling of the dissolved nutrients. The pitch also serves as a large collector for rainwater.

The grandstand is fitted with water saving and energy efficient fittings.

Water heaters that require a quarter of the energy are included in the shower areas below. The “waste” by-product of this heating process is cold air, which is ducted into the change rooms providing ventilation

Four masts supporting floodlights were installed with the total lux level of 1200 capability wired, with four levels of switching: Practice (200 lux), Non televised (600 lux) national (1000 lux) and international (1200 lux). At present, lamps have been fitted to achieve lux levels of 1000. The light system is controlled by smart software that controls the lights at the lower lux levels to ensure even distributed usage of lamps, in order to minimize the replacement of lamps.

Suites and offices are divided by partitions, allowing ease of removal and re-use of spaces should this be required in future.

The external façades are built from local clay face brick and off-shutter precast concrete materials that require minimal maintenance and relatively inert.


The Princess Magogo Stadium has been very well received and has hosted numerous matches since its revamp. The Stadium has added a special Identity of Place in KwaMashu and has connected well into the national circuit in sport and recreation.

Feedback from the eThekwini Municipality has been especially pleasing as they have on many occasions commended the development for its practical solutions,innovative change to an existing structure ,low maintenance of the facility and are very proud of having one of the best soccer pitches in the country.



Client eThekwini Municipality – Special Projects Unit  Dave Renwick

Principal Agent –  PMSA Michael Dlamini

Architects – Choromanski Architects / Urban Architects Rod Choromanski / Marcel Henry

Landscape Architect – Urban Architects Marcel Henry

Quantity Surveyor – BTKM / E-QS Ian Furter / Seeni Moodley

Structural Engineer – Linda Ness and Associates Linda Ness

Civil Engineer –  ZAI Lawrence Fraser

Electrical Engineer – BFBA Wally Doidge

Mechanical Engineer – ADX Projects Ayanda Xintolo

Economic Development –  Graham Muller Associates Graham Muller

Environmental – WSP Group Carla Elliot

Traffic – Delca Richard Palkowski

Audio Specialist- BA Sound Studio Work Shop 

KwaMashu Town Centre. Choromanski Architects

KwaMashu Town Centre. Identifying Important Nodes Within KwaMashu CBD and Surrounding Area

KwaMashu Town Centre. Choromanski Architects

KwaMashu Town CentrePublic Paved Walkway/Promenade

Princess Magogo Stadium, KwaMashu Durban. Choromanski Architects

concession area

Princess Magogo Stadium, KwaMashu Durban. Choromanski Architects

entrance into grandstand

Princess Magogo Stadium, KwaMashu Durban. Choromanski Architects

offices & suites

Princess Magogo Stadium, KwaMashu Durban. Choromanski Architects

new extension and identity to existing structure

Rivertown Beerhall. Choromanski Architects

The Rivertown Beerhall & Milne Drain Public Space – UIA 2014 congress,legacy project

Rivertown,Beer Hall,Milne Drain Development 

Project by the Architecture Department,eThekwini Municipality and Choromanski Architects

The city of Durban was originally a mangrove wetland and an adjacent secondary dune of the Durban Beach. Two Vleis, namely the eastern and western dominated the landscape, thereby restricting city settlement. The Milne Drain together with other drains that still exist, serve as a memory to the once wetland of Durban. Owned by the municipality, the Beer Hall with its prime location along the historical Milne Drain, robust heritage architecture, and its past decadent legacy of use and identity made it a meaningful transformation project to initiate the Rivertown Cultural Precinct, which was made public at the UIA Conference hosted by Durban in 2014. The Milne Drain initially was an open channel, which fluctuates due to tidal change. It was later given a concrete cover over its entire length, which still exists today. In 2014, the cover was removed in cut sections that were re-used as benches within the new Milne public area and within the Beer Hall courtyard, which could be replaced when needed. Planting was included along the open edges of the drain, creating a soft green zone amongst the hard industrial facades of the surrounding urban environment and serving as a reminder of the marshlands. The existing workshop buildings of clay brick and asbestos to the technical centre were removed thus creating a multi-purpose open courtyard at the centre of the complex. A portion of the John Milne Road boundary wall to the perimeter of the Beer Hall, was demolished, allowing the public to be drawn into the central courtyard from the Milne’s Drain Public area where they are then able to circulate through the courtyard and gallery spaces The two primary buildings are to be converted into galleries and multi-purpose facilities of which the DAG building will be converted once the collection storage is relocated to a new home. The opening of the drain as a test,exposed the challenges such as:

  • Health hazard due to very poor quality of water as a result of uncontrolled disposalof contamination by property owners,which eventually contaminate the Harbour
  • Vermin and pests
  • Tidal movement which restricted refuse in the Drain to flush out
  • Informal use of water by homeless people and their activities such as wetting of cardboard for higher sale price

Further research is needed with regards to the stormwater disposal through the Precinct, from existing and proposed building stock, roads and sidewalks, and how this could be managed to establish an eco-aware community who will be sensitive to environmental destruction, and avoid contaminated stormwater flowing into the Harbour and Sea. Similarly to the Vleis performance as filters before city settlement The development to establish a walkable back of beach Precinct which Durban does not have, thereby supporting the transformed beach promenade of 2010. The cleansing of the Drain through innovative management and engineering which could become a landscaped public space through the city grid together with the historical Victoria Park. The Milne Drain could transform into landscaped public space connecting the city to the natural edge of the harbour with cultural buildings at both ends: the Beer Hall in Rivertown and The Bat Centre near the harbour in Cato Creek; a cultural node, which was established in 1994. The 800 metres distance between the two active city nodes, namely ICC and Beach Promenade enables the Precinct to support a walkable connection.


Beerhall. Choromanski Architect

test opening of John Milne Drain as legacy project to Durban UIA conference 2014

Prince Alfred Street Beerhall. Choromanski Architects

Lunch Hour Rush at Prince Alfred Street Beerhall. Messengers Cycles and Rickshas Parked on Kerb. – Bourquin collection

Municipal Beerhall. Choromanski Architects

An Interior View of a Municipal Beerhall in the Durban Area.- Bourquin collection

Beerhall. Choromanski Architect

Historical  Map of Milne Drain

Beerhall. Choromanski Architect

View of Beerhall along Milne Drain -Beset Durban



Beerhall. Choromanski Architect

Rivertown Precinct Durban. Choromanski Architects

Rivertown Precinct Durban.



uMkhumbane Museum, Cato Manor. Choromanski Architects

uMkhumbane_Cato Manor_Heritage Place- Africa Architecture Award 2017 Grand Prix Winner

 Project by the Architecture Department,eThekwini Municipality and Choromanski Architects

Black Africans came to settle in Cato Manor during the 1920s, and rented land from Indian market gardeners who occupied the area since the early 20th century, as the apartheid system restricted settlement in the city.

Cato Manor covers a geographical area of approximately 1800 hectares and is situated approximately 7 kilometres from Durban’s City Centre. It is currently the home to an estimated 93 000 people who settled in the area through mass invasions in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.Cato Manor had been left vacant since the 1950’s and 1960’s following apartheid forced removals of an estimated 150 000 people. Today, Cato Manor residents include some of the poorest of the urban poor, despite the successes of the EU funded Cato Manor Development Association (CMDA) programme.

The area remains characterised by a high unemployment rate and social fragmentation. At the same time, Cato Manor residents are increasingly taking the initiative in the development of the area and there is a high level of community organisation, citizen action and participation. The Cato Manor Area Based Management (ABM) Unit of the Municipality seeks to work with these strengths and build on post-infrastructure development and consolidation processes such as social upliftment, responsibility and cohesion; community planning and participation; economic development and skills development.

The city’s Economic Development Unit together with Parks Recreation and Culture and the CMDA identified Cato Manor as an ideal location to develop The “uMkhumbane Heritage Site ”, to preserve the areas rich cultural and political history and stimulate innovation. The site at the confluence of two major arterials is crossed by the uMkhumbane River and included in the Durban Metropolitan Open Space System (DMOSS) and in close proximity to mixed residential areas, businesses and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

The first project reports responding to the heritage project were compiled in 2003 and an architectural competition by the City Architects laid the foundation for the appointment of the professional team. A master plan created by Choromanski Architects, incorporated the vision of the “uMkhumbane Heritage Site ” which compliments the Cultural Renaissance Programme of the eThekwini Municipality, and includes the following:

a cultural park and public square,

galleries for permanent collection on forced removals, focusing on the struggle by women and children and temporary collections,

dedicated space for community exhibitions,

gathering areas for oral, performance, installation exhibits,

social gathering areas for functions, eg. book launches, festivals (film, writers, poetry, dance, music)

concession areas including traders market stalls,

theatre as multipurpose space,

children’ innovative facilities,

linking of the development to tour routes through the community and surroundings areas, thereby extending the innovative entrepreneur spirit from the “uMkhumbane Heritage Site ” through Cato Manor and Surroundings

Funding for this project was initially provided by Lotto who together with the city stimulated momentum for the development, which was complimented by the donation of land for the site by the UKZN.

This site on the banks of the uMkhumbane River is also especially significant as it was chosen by the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini for the reburial

of the remains of his late mother in May 2011,Queen Thomozile Jezangani KaNdwandwe Zulu,who passed on in December 1959

A process of co-creating regenerative and enabling systems, where the project serves as a catalyst within its immediate environment, creates structure to enable the health of the surrounding community and natural environment. The activation of a neglected apartheid buffer zone along the uMkhumbane River to become a Heritage and Innovation Site

Creating new unique African Identity and Brands towards stimulation of a Township Economy

South Africa has a very wealthy history that is only now being appreciated for its complexity and diversity…”


What is African Architecture

LALELA- WENTWORTH ,DURBAN (guest speaker – Rod Choromanski)

Rod Choromanki, invited as guest speaker at the Lalela Awards Ceremony on 30 November 2017,Blue Roof Life Space 178 Austerville Drive,Wentworth-

creative thinking

Humanities Alumnus wins Prestigious Architecture Award

Interview with the African Architecture Awards Grand Prix Winner

View the Grand Prix Winner in Conversation about the uMkhumbane Museum

uMkhumbane Museum, Cato Manor, Durban, South Africa. Choromanski Architects

Interviews with Africa Architecture Awards shortlist finalist

Connecting through Africa to Innovate a Continent


View Interview of Shortlist Finalist