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The design of a centre of the performing arts : catalyst for the rejuvenation of Durban's embankment.

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The purpose of this dissertation is twofold. Firstly to investigate the aspects and issues around performing arts and their influence on architecture. Secondly, to set the brief for the design of a performing arts theatre that directly relates to its surroundings, namely Durban's bay and urban waterfront, the Embankment, as well as to the large, existing theatre community within Kwa-Zulu Natal. The building will seek to accommodate the independent theatre and dance companies that have been displaced due to the ‘White Letter’ bill passed in the early 1990s, creating a home base for them. The facility aims to enliven the neglected water's edge and be a catalyst for its rejuvenation of the area. Through this study, specific characteristics of theatre design will be investigated. These characteristics include the following: the relationship between funding and the community, theatre planning and the spatial relationships that exist between functions as well as the engagement with the public and promenade edge. Due to the fact that a theatre is a civic facility that connects a variety of different people from diverse walks of life together, an opportunity presents itself in creating a building that contributes to the both the city and its community. This research will study the multi-faceted aspects that comprise a performing arts theatre on Durban's Margaret Mncadi Avenue (formerly the Victoria Embankment). The research will consist of primary and secondary sources. Conclusions will be drawn from both case and precedent studies but a balance between primary and secondary research is needed to obtain a workable response and brief for the design of a theatre. This research will also concentrate on urban waterfronts, in particular Durban, which exists today as a reminder of what we are focused with in today's society, namely leisure pursuits coupled with commercial skyscrapers within the inner city verify our focus as a community. It is the author's aim to provide a facility that changes this focus to include cultural activities such as a theatre as a means of pure expression.


Thesis (M.Arch.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2009.


Theatres--Designs and plans., Theatres--KwaZulu-Natal--Durban--Designs and plans., Theses--Architecture.