JDA’s Oval Park Wins Top Urban Design Award at ILASA 2022


The modernization of the Bertha Solomon Oval Park and Leisure Center received a Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Urban Design at the Institute for 2022 Landscape Architects for South Africa (ILASA) awards last month.

The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) implemented this project as part of the Eastern Gateway Precinct Master Plan. It was designed by kwpCREATE, who was named the project’s urban designer.

The ILASA Awards of Excellence recognize and promote excellence in landscape architecture. The Oval Park and Bertha Solomon Leisure Center has a significant history in Johannesburg, and the recognition of the upgrade project at the awards ceremony was fitting.

The existing Bertha Solomon Leisure Center is a heritage building and community center which was opened in 1949. The upgrade to this historic site in the heart of Johannesburg included a public green space offering outdoor sports and gym facilities, an outdoor recreation area, children’s play areas and community vegetable gardens.

Minor works to make all three buildings electrically compliant and a new caretaker installation have also been undertaken.

Co-producing solutions in partnership with local communities and stakeholders to meet local needs and mitigate challenges is a core strategic focus of the JDA. The JDA engaged residents and other park users in the process of designing a safe, accessible, inclusive, and sustainable public space through participatory tools and methods.

During the upgrades, local SMEs executed over 40% of the scope and gained experience, guidance from the independent construction mentor and training on business related aspects.

The Oval Park and Bertha Solomon Recreation Center will serve as a vibrant community recreation center. With a positive effect on the lives of young people in the surrounding areas and is safe when using the park for physical activities such as dance, martial arts, yoga, basketball and other sports.

The community center will encourage healthy lifestyles and sports and promote teamwork.

“This recognition at the 2022 ILASA Awards is yet another demonstration of how JDA manages and facilitates developments efficiently and innovatively, with the intention of building an equitable, sustainable and resilient city,” said Mokgema Mongane, Managing Director from JDA.

This is the second time that a JDA project has been rewarded at the ILASA Awards. The upgrade and redesign of Gilfillan Park into a functional park received a commendation for excellence in urban design at the 2019 awards ceremony.



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