Retail spaces are more than just brick-and-mortar buildings filled with different shops that offer products and services. They are vibrant hubs where communities unite to commemorate milestones, forge connections, and engage in meaningful interactions. These spaces serve as more than just places to shop—they become landmarks of safety and solidarity, intrinsic to the fabric of a community.

The center’s design is intended to reflect its surroundings by crafting a distinctly Ballito retail hub that resonates with the surf culture of the KwaZulu North Coast. Simultaneously, it considers the site's placement within the urban fabric of Ballito. The development fosters openness and connectivity with the public realm, actively encouraging seamless transitions between the street sidewalk and different levels of the development. This stands in stark contrast to the prevailing trend of creating self-contained developments that strictly delineate movement between private and public spaces.

The project is a refurbishment of an existing local convenience shopping centre in Ballito. The existing centre, although well known, had become run down and dilapidated. The building was full of disused signage, the three retail levels were disconnected and the building had been modified in a piecemeal fashion.

The objective was to upgrade the entire centre and accommodate Checkers as the new anchor tenant on the lower ground floor. By implementing a few key architectural interventions, significant improvements were achieved:

- A lift and staircase were constructed centrally to create a vertical connection between all existing levels, enhancing accessibility to Checkers and activating the parking level.

- Timber steps were added adjacent to Dolphin Crescent, reconnecting the three levels while integrating the centre with the surrounding streetscape, fostering openness between retail and the public realm.

- A restaurant was strategically positioned on the eastern edge, creating a sheltered courtyard between the building masses on the middle level. This courtyard offers views of the street and serves as an ideal outdoor seating area.

- The use of vibrant paint colours, brick patterns, materials, artwork, and sculptures created a distinct beach holiday surf ambiance. The "Wave Wall," constructed from painted bricks, transformed mundane objects into art, creating a sense of a moving wave as one ascends the stairs. The prominent "Shaka" sculpture became an Instagram-worthy spot, encouraging people to connect with the building through photographs. Local surfboard shaper "Hutch" crafted the three boards fixed to the restroom wall, further reinforcing the connection to the Ballito community and sense of place.

- The lower ground level was opened up and the entrance to the anchor tenant was made more visible, resulting in a simplified and consolidated space. This created a contained area that allowed line shops to open up into and interact more effectively.

Overall, these interventions breathed new life into the shopping centre, transforming it into a vibrant and visually captivating destination that harmonizes with Ballito's character and engages the local community.

Developer Retail Africa
Area 3588 sqm
Completed 2022
Project Manager MDSA Project Management
Quantity Surveyor SVR SA
Structural Engineer Sutherland Engineers
Mechanical Engineer Meccanitek Consulting
Electircal Engineer Watson Mattheus Consulting
Town Planner TC Chetty & Associates
Photographer Chris Allan Photography