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Visit the Master Builders Association Durban, Westville website here. Read the December 26, 2011 GPW: Master Builders Association Durban, Westville by Linda Velazquez in the Sky Gardens Blog. For more information on the Master Builders Association Durban, Westville project, contact Clive Greenstone at or visit


The Master Builders Centre in Durban was built in 1982 as a commercial building comprising some 3600 square metres of commercial space. The entire ground floor of the building was utilised as a large permanent building exhibition which housed the exhibits of a range of building and home improvement suppliers. The remaining areas were predominately offices and also contained a number of meeting and conference venues. Due to the age of the building, certain of the finishes were becoming old and unsightly. The exhibition space had also lost popularity and could not compete with internet merchandising as well as the explosion of lifestyle and building accessory stores in the past decade. As a result, the exhibition centre was no longer delivering sufficient value to tenants and was not attracting sufficient traffic to warrant utilising the space in this fashion.

It was decided to re-look at the utilisation of this space and harness the potential of the conference activity which was becoming evermore popular. In addition, it was decided to introduce certain new activities which aligned with the objective of the Association being a physical space for building community among members and construction industry role players.


Our green roof comprises mainly indigenous plants which are planted in a manner that mimics how they grow naturally. This ensures that they utilise minimal water, are able to propagate by themselves, and are less susceptible to outbreaks of pests and harsh climatic conditions. The green roof has been established on various portions of the roof which assists in keeping the surface temperature of this roof cooler and creates an insulating effect for the space underneath. Green roofs also mitigate the urban heat-island effect, which is when built up areas (such as cities) create additional heat because the materials from which the built environment is created retain heat which is then released more slowly at night. The green roof increases the vegetation on the property, promotes biodiversity and reduces the rate and volume of stormwater discharge.

The roof podium area was planted with two separate systems designed by Green Roof Designs cc, one half using recyclable HDPE green roof modules and the other half using treated softwood timber boxes, which were constructed using both local timber source providers and workers from the area thus providing employment and training. Native plants that occur within a 90 km radius of the building were used including: Agapanthus praecox, Crassula multicava, Stapelia gigantea, Aloe maculata, Crassula ovata, Delosperma lineare, Cotyledon orbiculata, Crassula pellucida, and Cyanotis speciosa.

The growing medium used was a blend of 40% organic (fine screeded pine bark) and 60% inorganic (Vermiculite/ Perlite/ crushed brick and decomposed granite); lastly a slow release fertiliser was infused into the green roof growing medium. The green drums located at the end of the roof are grey water harvesters.


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