UIBA-OAS CRYSTAL MARKET

LOCATION:
Near Usakos, Erongo Region

PROJECT STATUS:
Completed 2009 & 2015 (Phase 1, Phase 2 & 3)

CLIENT:
Erongo Regional Council
Rössing Foundation

This permanent market for a small-miners community cooperative replaced makeshift ’tables’ made from rubble and tyres in an exposed wind-plagued location. Conceived as a geode, with rough stone gabion walls sheltering three circular trading spaces, the co-op office and a food-kiosk, the new market provided formal stature to a marginalised community. Canopies ring the interior perimeters of the circles, below which permanent counters with deep-set display space receive just enough sun to make the gemstones come alive, while sellers and patrons are protected against the considerable heat.

The counters have lockable lids and large gates which open to the passing trade can also be closed and locked to protect merchandise at night. Community-built and managed, the market has become a must-stop landmark on the most important tourism route in the country, yet its low horizontal massing enhances rather than intrudes on the landscape.

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