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Intaka Island Eco Centre selected as 2014 World Design Capital project

12 March 2014

The Intaka Island Environmental Education Centre, the hidden gem of Century City, has received a major accolade by being selected as a 2014 World Design Capital project!

Intaka Island and its Eco Centre have been hailed as a prime example of urban development and nature conservation successfully working together to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to development challenges and maximising this into long term educational opportunities. 

Intaka Island came about through a novel collaboration of property development and nature conservation.  
When development of Century City started in 1996, it faced the combined challenge of conserving the existing wetland ecosystems as well as maintaining the clean and safe waterways that were incorporated into the precinct design.  The solution was inspired by nature, with an 8Ha ephemeral pan being declared a conservation area and an adjacent 8 Ha wetlands area re-designed and constructed to perform a natural water purification system for the 7,5km  of canal water on site. This water is aesthetically pumped into the re-constructed wetland and through gravity flow makes its way through the different ponds before re-entering the canal system with each pond via the use of indigenous plants providing a different natural cleaning process and in so doing also maintaining the overall ecosystem, specifically bird life.

To facilitate the long term showcasing of this inspiring solution, as well as adding to the educational and recreational experience of the wetland, the need for a visitors centre was identified and 2010 saw the start of the construction of the Environmental Education Centre. This centre is a multipurpose visitor centre that showcases the environment, sustainable living and green technologies. The building design necessitated meeting the multi-functional needs of a reception area, office space, ablution, kitchen facilities and abiding by green building standards. Design was used to create such a space, furthermore incorporating the physical building into the curriculum specific and tailor made educational programs and allowing its transformation from classroom to function venue.

Intaka (meaning bird in isiXhosa) hosts a range of exciting educational events, with visitor numbers totalling more than 19 000 in 2012. Intaka plans to showcase its story, through its daily guided tours on foot and by ferry,  and to create partnerships with similar projects during WDC2014. 

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