Roughly one year ago, Bidvest Top Turf completed a landscape installation at the prestigious Times Square Casino, a Sun International project, designed by the talented Landscape Architects at ILA (Interdesign Landscape Architects). The completion dates for the opening of the casino, arena and hotel were non-negotiable with the entire installation phase being packed into the twelve week run up to 31st March 2017.
ILA (Interdesign Landscape Architects) were required to create a robust public outdoor space to function firstly as a link between the Time Square development and the rest of the Menlyn Maine precinct, and secondly as a spill-out space for the naturally high volumes of people which these developments inevitably attract.
The landscape needed to work functionally but also be visually appealing from both eye level and from a bird’s eye view due to the high-rise nature of the surrounding buildings. There were also to be no pause or rest areas within the piazza, deliberately, to fulfill the requirement of moving people swiftly into the casino.
The concept behind the design was to reflect on the architect’s theme of horology, the art and science of measuring time, by incorporating theatrical lines and bold curves which enhance the buildings and continue the strong architectural elements within the landscape.
The central theme of time is reflected throughout ILA’s design of Time Square, extending to planters and paving that follow a clock-styled pattern. Through the use of a fully indigenous planting palette and a careful selection of plants, the landscape presents seasonal changes throughout the year, thus also enhancing the theme in a more subtle manner.
One of the biggest challenges faced throughout the course of the project was the fact that a large portion of the central piazza space, which links all three buildings to the rest of Menlyn Maine, was constructed entirely on top of the basement parking, which meant that most of the visible landscape is contained within constructed planters varying between depths of 300mm to 2500mm.
The level difference between Aramist Avenue (leading to the casino), and the star circle was an incredible three metre drop on the east/west piazza. This challenge was overcome by gradually lifting the landscape with planters so that the level changes from the street to the casino were not quite so severe.
The installation was carried out under the supervision of Moses Radebe of Bidvest Top Turf, the logistics were substantial and complicated as the different trades moved through the areas during the twelve week installation. Bidvest Top Turf provided the protection to the waterproofing, growing medium, drip irrigation and planting of the numerous planter boxes around the casino as they became available leading up to the first completion date. All of which had to be constructed, filled and planted over the twelve week period leading up to the 31st March 2017. The project was fast-tracked with non-negotiable completion dates.
Drip irrigation was installed throughout, except for small lawn areas where sprayer and misters were used. The system uses only harvested water which is stored in tanks underneath the building. A VSD booster pump pressurises the irrigation system which only uses recovered water from the basement excavations in the garden.