Located in Mbombela (formerly known as Nelspruit), the Lowveld National Botanical Gardens is famous for its many plant species and the largest collection of cycads in Africa. It now has an exciting project to build a new attraction in the form of a labyrinth.
Labyrinths appear in various societies from way back in history and can be thought of as symbolising life's challenges or a means to divorce oneself from the trials of daily life and achieve a meditative state. The project team has decided on an intriguing triple spiral labyrinth and approached Lafarge South Africa for a solution to the challenging building material requirements.
"As a caring member of the community, we are delighted to be a partner in this marvellous project to create an attractive asset for posterity in the Botanical Gardens," says Lafarge South Africa's Trudie Heinemann, Readymix Area Manager for Mpumalanga. "We had previously provided a solution for constructing durable non-slip pathways in the Gardens by supplying our unique rapid draining permeable concrete, HydromediaTM."
Lafarge South Africa is the local presence of the international Lafarge Group, a world leader in building materials with unparalleled technical capability. Locally, the company has a well-recognised track record for providing the local construction industry with innovative products, solutions and services in line with the Group's brand baseline of ‘Building better cities'. This embodies its ambition to contribute innovative solutions for the construction of cities that are sustainable, more durable, more beautiful and more desirable living environments for local communities.
The plans for the labyrinth are close to implementation: the Lafarge Readymix team has been working closely with both the project's architect and a Lafarge approved concrete placing and finishing specialist, Riaan van Doorn of Spectacular Concrete, to finalise details. The current proposal is to build the labyrinth using Lafarge ArteviaTM decorative concrete, which is a strong, durable structural concrete that offers a wide range of colour, texture and patterned finishes. The scheme will use a scarified, non-slip finish for the walkways with an attractive, easy to maintain border in ArteviaTM Polish.
"It is a fascinating project that we have ahead of us," comments Lafarge South Africa's Andrew Solomon, Sales Manager for Mpumalanga. "The triple-spiral labyrinth will probably be the first in South Africa and definitely the first in any of the country's botanical gardens. Our contribution to the project will be a donation of some R18 000 worth of product, together with the active participation of our Technical Controller, Reginald Masuku."
The symbolism of a labyrinth has many interpretations: in this case, the project team feel it is the three stages of man, from child to adult to elder, finishing life in the centre of the circle. It is far larger and more complicated to construct than initially realised from looking at the design proposal. From the beginning to the destination and back again is a 400 metre walk!
"Lafarge South Africa is proud to be involved in the labyrinth project," adds Heinemann. "It will be an additional tourism draw card for the Lowveld Botanical Gardens and help boost the economy of the surrounding communities."
note to editor
A world leader in building materials, Lafarge employs 63,000 people in 61 countries, and posted sales of €12.8 billion in 2014. As a top-ranking player in its Cement, Aggregates and Concrete businesses, it contributes to the construction of cities around the world, through its innovative solutions providing them with more housing and making them more compact, more durable, more beautiful, and better connected. With the world's leading building materials research facility, Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities in order to contribute to more sustainable construction and to better serve architectural creativity.
In South Africa, the company manufactures and supplies cement, aggregates, ready-mixed concrete, pulverised fly ash, gypsum plasterboard and interior building fittings through its various business units. It focuses on providing solutions to help the sustainable development of better cities that benefit the country's people. Through having a strong presence in all of its business lines, it is in a unique position to contribute to urban construction, while also helping to build better rural towns and villages.
Additional information is available on the website at www.lafarge.co.za
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