The vision of Jason Lurie of Moyo and the city officials who invited Moyo to breath life into the uShaka was to connect the restaurant space, 4m above what we now call “promenade level”, to the end of the pier.

The first design challenge was the activation of the promenade at the base of the pier. Moyo’s occupation of environment is almost viral. They adapt to any space. They activate neighbouring space to expand their influence over the environment around themselves. It is a generous attitude with a self-serving function – increased market. The area at the base of uShaka pier has become a vibrant hub, an activated space. Moyo understand the benefit of externalities in development.

Moyo pier is a building that I believed would never be built. Even from the start it was always going to be a long shot getting environmnetal, municipal, coastal, heritage and local town planning approval. When the project finally got the green light we had 5 months for design development, documentation, tendering and delivering the building. It is a tribute to the professional team.

The site is environmentally sensitive. The pier is a structure to service the well-points located below the end platform of the pier. Any contamination of the sea here would pass directly into the aquarium at uShaka and endanger life there. Strict environmental controls were enforced.

The structure and components of the building are light-weight, prefabricated and the ground floor (apart from the structure) is removable for the scheduled servicing of the wells. Tolerances needed to be large. Corrosion is aggressive and every effort has been made to ensure robustness.

The Urban design dealt with linear access and a compact site. When visiting a pier you want to be at the end. It was decided that the entrance of the building should be from the end of the pier to avoid missing that experience. The space therefore offers its service end to the approaching visitor, a constriction before the release into the space at the end of the pier. The space around the building on the pier is serviced by the tenant but is open to the general public. Patrons are welcomed upstairs through a bar built on the ground floor.

The first floor is the other served space. Apart from the stair void the interior is completely open. It’s an elevated platform 9m above the ocean that allows full 360degree views of city, harbour, sea and sky. Simple opening sections on each side provide environmental control and access to balconies on the North West and South East of the building. The space can respond to environmental conditions.

The roof is resolved as a bent plane; it is level on 3 sides and radiuses on the forth (land facing). This induces the fall but the form prohibited the use of steel sheeting. Each steel portal required a specifically radiused top beam. These generate the form. Evenly spaced rafters between the curved beams are the ribs of the structure, clad top and bottom with ply. The roof is malthoid sealed plywood that is constructed like a boat hull.

The interior provides the visitor with as much access to the external environment as possible without compromising enveloped space. It needs to function in adverse conditions. The overall design provides a multifunctional venue responding to various activities and tenant needs.

This project was done as a joint venture with ZAI.

Winner of the KZNIA Architectural Award of Merit : 2011