12/04/2021| By: Bentel Associates International

According to the Parliamentary Monitoring Group “South Africa is urbanizing rapidly: 63% of South Africans are already living in urban areas and the statistics will rise to 71% by 2030. By 2050, eight in ten people will be living in urban areas and this will increase demand on basic infrastructure requirements.” So we need to consider the rapid increase and the future of infrastructure development to how it will accommodate dwellers and how it will maintain more sustainable lifestyles.

Bentel Associates International has contributed in the development of the 3 of 10 world-class Gautrain Stations infrastructures namely: OR Tambo International Airport Station, Rhodesfield Station and Marlboro Station. It was stipulated by us, the master architects that each station should feature individually tailored design packages under an umbrella brand identity. The train system brand identity had to be maintained to achieve continuity between the stations for easy identification and usage by passengers. Continuity was achieved through a comprehensive branding and signage package that was developed by Bentel Associates International’s graphic design department.

Designs inspired by biomimicry are popular trends and at Bentel Associates International, we have used this inspiration on our Gautrain Stations. The overall design philosophy required the use of tree imagery in the architectural elements of the stations. The tree is symbolic of protection, life, community and the path of travel.  The indigenous acacia tree was the specific reference in the architecture of the stations. Its umbrella canopy is reflected in the wave roof structures. Similarly, the acacia tree-trunk and branches is referenced in the supporting columns of the station. These references are significant markers in the successful journey of passengers using the transport system.

The massive scale and scope of this infrastructural project required a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, landscape architects, and project managers. A team and network of skilled individuals were taken to execute the task at international standards.

About the Gautrain Stations:

OR Tambo Gautrain Station

The OR Tambo International Station is one of the three major stations in the Gautrain project. Therefore there was a high standard of excellence demanded in the design and execution of the station. This station functions to link passengers travelling from Sandton CBD to the airport and vice versa. The station links directly to the central terminal building to facilitate efficient passenger transfers.

Continuity was required between the station and the central terminal building to allow for easy transition between spaces. Continuity is maintained in the finishes of both the central terminal and the concourse of the station. The station features a stratosphere sunset on the ceiling linking to the navigational character of travel. The sense of travel and space is further expressed in the elevated platform area that is accessed via a transparent glass link.

Gautrain – ORTIA


Marlboro Gautrain Station

Marlboro station feeds into the Sandton and Johannesburg CBD areas. The station consists of semi-open platforms as well as park and ride, bus, drop-off and short term facilities. The station is designed to make extensive use of natural ventilation.

The project is defined by a floating waveform roof over the concourse, giving the architectural structure a sense of dynamism.  This is supported by large steel structural elements, reminiscent of acacia trees.

Gautrain – Marlboro Station

Rhodesfield Gautrain Station

Rhodesfield Station is an elevated station that is linked with the adjacent PRASA metro station. The station provides links to Pretoria, Johannesburg CBD, and the Sandton CBD.

The Rhodesfield station maintains the overall identity of the Gautrain system, incorporating white structural tree elements and green glass. Similarly, energy efficient design is used in both the heating and cooling components of the building. The character of the site influenced the architectural design, which was restricted in terms of the available space for tracks and the geometry of the site.

Through the development of Gautrain stations, there has been an impressive shift on the outlook of the transport system in South Africa. The use of transport has become reliable and safe.

Gautrain – Rhodesfield

About Bentel Associates International:
Bentel is a leading African and Indian-based design firm established in 1960 which has a dedicated and focused service offering across multiple sectors, comprising retail, office, residential and hospitality projects. Today BAI is an award-winning architectural firm known for having designed many unique and landmark developments throughout the African continent and the Middle-East. 
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