Keeping it social

New housing development in Johannesburg from ASA Architects

by James 26 December 2009
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    Located in Cosmo City, a new residential satellite of Johannesburg, this housing project was developed by Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC) and completed in October 2009 The project is situated in the centre of Cosmo City on a narrow, shoulder shaped 2.8ha stand.With a 1/17m drop, the site is very steep.The project consists of 280 units ranging from 1-bed, 2-bed and 2-bed + loft for rental accommodation only, partly subsidised, for mid to low income beneficiaries.The client's brief called for maximum number of units within a 4-storey high max. development. As the development is family orientated, ample playground space was to be provided but away from parking and driveways.In order to minimise future maintenance costs, the developer insisted that at least 75% of the external finishes be face brick.A learning centre and community hallwas also to be provided

    Following the shoulder shape of the site, the design provides for two parallel rows of buildings along the full length of the site, where parking is concentrated on one side only, next to the main entrance. Also, next to the entrance, is the Community Hall. In this way a continuous green ‘inner lane’ is achieved, that serves as playground as well as a meeting, walking and jogging facility for the residents, away from the car park and roads.The use of lofts as well as the site natural topography renders a dynamic skyline to the whole development.

    The extensive use of face brick could have been overpowering and render the development bland and colourless. To avoid this, but still adhere to the brief, the architects used two different face bricks and made use of strong colours where possible, restricting the colour only to easily accessible areas next to balconies, where there will be no need for scaffolding when repainting in future.To mitigate a steep site, retaining walls form part of playground and recreation features whilst the difference in levels is often used as common drying yards. Ingenious landscaping solutions prevent flooding.

    This is a landmark development for Cosmo City and although it stands out because of height and density, it blends in within the general colours of the area

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