Increasing competition in the global sugar industry, the growing local economy and the increasing demand for new homes are the propelling issues behind this vast new development on the Mauritius Island.
Following a strategic Masterplan developed by One Works and Surbana, One Works then received an assignment regarding the design for a new town of 25.000 inhabitants on the western shores of the island, framed between the mountains and seacoast. Although this is a green field development, the context guided the design, recognizing the importance of the existing small coastal town of Flic en Flac and the presence of the main A3 highway as strategic design elements.
The masterplan, based on a system of movement channels, structures the area of intervention connecting and giving full potential to the key features on site. A very simple road network builds a vast grid connecting the A3 highway with the local coastal roads running along the shores. A green network allows for widespread pedestrian accessibility and form ecological corridors across the new development. Roads, designed to accommodate dedicated bus routes guarantee reliable public services and bicycle routes run along all streets. Finally, a blue network made up of creeks, canals and irrigation systems, governs heavy rains while providing a beautiful environmental constituent in many public spaces.
The particular road and public space design, together with a well-delineated layout for land use, produces a gentle distinguishable hierarchy across the new town. Greater density and multifunctional use developments are located along the boulevard connecting Flic en Flac with the present day commercial developments on the A3 road.
The boulevard addresses a more urbanscape oriented character; offices, retail, education, health and hospitality facilities, together with institutions are mixed with higher density residential estates to serve different market categories. Bestowed with palm tree lined borders, it is the new town center, in direct relationship with the surrounding mountains and sea. The principal public square is Festival Plaza that hosts important public functions.
The Masterplan acknowledges the hierarchical importance of closed and open spaces, public and private, and their interdependency; the challenge is to devise places for establishing social relationships while providing privacy for the residents. Density decreases with distance from the boulevard, housing units take on a variety of characteristics for diverse populations. The central part of the development concentrates on housing and local services while the southern part offers exclusive residential developments.
Many different architects in a timespan of 15 years will design the buildings. Needs, desires, strengths and weaknesses will be dealt with and will eventually modify the initial thoughts, increasing the intervention’s complexity. In this framework, a series of directives serve as guiding stars for future development.
These guidelines, however, permit a certain degree of flexibility. The Masterplan will need to respond to a natural growth logic and satisfy the constantly evolving circumstances of the Newtown; it foresees an authentic place subject to unceasing transformations, appropriations, and new attributions.