The eastern part of the central business district of Harare, next to the Eastgate shopping and office mall, will soon be graced by a state-of-the-art vendors’ market.
Designed by renowned Zimbabwean architect Mick Pearce, the market will replace the old 1920s dilapidated buildings at the intersection between Robert Mugabe, Robson Manyika, Wynn Street, and Fourth Street.
The market building, which is intended for manufactured and perishable goods, will have a ground floor space of 11,000 square meters. The first floor will offer stalls and storage space for many vendors and will also house 24 large rooms designed for sleeping accommodation and equipped with kitchens and bathrooms for travelling traders. It will also have internal streets modelled on the traders’ markets in Mauritius, China and Australia, as well as refrigerators intended for perishables.
When finished, it will complete a massive development by the property giant Old Mutual, and join the existing Eastgate Centre, an office and shopping complex, and Ster-Kinekor cinema houses. It will give vendors who have been evicted by Harare City Council much needed space to parade and sell their wares.
The architect says he was inspired by the Great Zimbabwe monument and modeled the market building around the historic site. “It will utilise a lot of techniques borrowed from natural sources, with all the lighting coming from solar sources,” said Pearce.
Like Eastgate, the market building is based on ancient and simple ideas. For the design of Eastgate, Pearce studied the way in which termites build and regulate the temperature in their mounds. He employed a similar system of circulating air through a series of vents and chimneys, in order to heat or cool the building instead of installing conventional air conditioning
Pearce says of his latest design, “I have become increasingly interested in the development of a new relationship between the city and nature. The mindless burning of fossil fuels is having a disastrous effect on our natural, social, and economic environment. We should aim instead to use the planet’s vast fossil resources for higher-state energy transfer processes to produce hydrocarbon materials like carbon fibre, while we move rapidly forwards to using renewable energy, which will give rise to a new solar age. The market is expected to be a one-stop-shop for clients, more like Magaba in Mbare. The only changes are the elements of sleeping quarters, provision of water, refrigeration, and the opportunity to sell wares 24/7 – services that are hard to get at Magaba,” he added.
While doing work in China, Pearce designed an office block made from discarded shipping containers. The building is not only environmentally friendly but also addresses the issue of recycling millions of unwanted and discarded containers in that country.
Harare has been battling to find space for thousands of vendors attributed to high job losses and the failing economy.
Sten Zvorwadza, Board Chairperson of the National Vendors Union Zimbabwe (NVUZ), commended the concept of a market in Harare at a time when there is a shortage of space for vendors.
Image: The site of the new Eastgate vendors set to go up soon
Image Credit: Stephen Tsoroti