Caledonion City Park/ Arcadia Pretoria


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Project Description

The Caledonian Sport Grounds were opened on 31 August 1898; a year before the Anglo Boer War. Pretoria was originally laid out to the East as far as the Apies River, which formed the Eastern boundary of old Pretoria. At the time, the Caledonian Sports Grounds were situated outside the town of Pretoria on the East bank of the Apies River and on the West bank of Walker Spruit.

This has always been an important recreational node, with the three main zones being the Central Swimming Pool complex (now demolished), the Oost-Eind School (a heritage protected site) and then the Caledonian Sports Grounds.

When the suburb of Arcadia was proclaimed, most of the streets running East-West were extended over the Apies River. However; the sport ground management refused to budge and Pretorius Street ended at what is now Nelson Mandela drive and continued again at Beatrix Street.

During the 1910s the City Council had to divert Pretorius Street and also built two bridges over the Apies River and Walker Spruit – hence the ‘bulge’ in the road. Of importance is that the grounds are laid out at the confluence of the two main water arteries of the city i.e. Apies River and Walker Spruit. This is one of the last ‘green lungs’ of the city, and the City of Tshwane is planning to do a major upgrade to the sports and recreational facilities – all for the benefit of the residents of the inner city of Tshwane/Pretoria.

NLA Landscape Architects and Wilkinson Architects were appointed to redesign the existing grounds to incorporate a city park and link premises to the surrounding city context. The park consists of a central oval, which was the original cycle track as well as tree lined avenues and gardens, as well as water features. The various pedestrian avenues lead visitors from the perimeter of the site towards the central oval. Wilkinson Architects designed the kiosks, restaurant and pavilions that are placed along the pedestrian avenues. Characteristics of these pavilions are the green roofs, and floating concrete overhangs which not only make the buildings blend perfectly with the gardens, but also provide shaded areas for pedestrians to linger.

Project details

Design completion: January 2015