Stimela Crossing, the 13 500m² retail center in the small town of Barberton, Mpumalanga, pays homage to the town’s momentous industrial past and acknowledges the significant natural setting of the town that is nestled into the foothills of the UNESCO world heritage Makhonjwa Mountains. The name “Stimela Crossing” was aptly derived from the historic locomotive that welcomes visitors at the entrance.

The material selection of steel, face brick and sheet metal roofing deliberately mirrors typical industrial building typologies associated with mining and industry.

Barberton, was at one point the gold mining hub of South Africa, even claiming the first South African Stock exchange. With this remarkable history and a lingering old-world spirit, there were many design queues to draw from to revitalize the town. A building of this scale has a significant impact on the flow patterns of a small town like Barberton.

Spatially, the building layout is a hybrid between a traditional open value retail centre- and an enclosed mall and manifests the best of both. It mixes convenience with a market-like experience to promote extended lingering time. Traditional Urban Civic elements, typically not associated with value retail, such as a public piazza and a covered multi-purpose courtyard were introduced to broaden the possibilities of events and promote civic gatherings. Public civic spaces like these are notably absent in the rest of Barberton.

The pergola of the covered court was clad with the lumber of the trees that were felled to clear the site. The wood was also used for the civic seating and in this way we managed to minimize site waste and retain some of the original charm. The rich colour variations of the pergola’s wooden beams are due to the different wood species that include Silky Oak, African Wattle, Syringa, Jacaranda and Acacia Saligna.

The established trees on the site boundary were left untouched and frame the site against the Makhonjwa Mountains. The trees also help tremendously to disrupt and slow down the wind. The indigenous landscaping was carefully considered to compliment and enhance the defining character of Barberton and to ultimately provide a haven for the residents of this uniquely South African town.

Developer Masingita Properties
Completed 2019
Capacity 13 500sqm
Project Managers MDSA
Quantity Surveyor Illungile Quantity Surveyors
StructuralEngineer Struxit
ElictricalEngineer Quad Africa
Traffic Engineer WSP Consulting Engineers Pretoria
HVAC VMG Consulting
Fire & Security Fire Safety Designs