The Ivory Park Linear Markets consists of an immense 330m-long steel structure housing informal and formal trade areas and public ablutions. It is part of the province’s economic development program to formalise informal trading in Johannesburg. The project will provide lockable trading space for all traders who previously operated on the site, some for as many as 20 years.
The commission was achieved through a public tender in joint venture with IYER Urban Design Studio. The project involved the design and construction of linear markets on two different sites – Local Studio worked on the Ivory Park site and IYER on the Alexandra site. Local Studio was initially expected to adapt a design by Urban Soup, who had won a competition with the DED. In the first pricing round, the initial design was scrapped due to budget constraints and the only component retained was the use of shipping containers. The design combines three elements: the shipping containers, which function as formal retail units; the light-weight steel roof, which defines the covered pedestrian space; and the concrete street furniture, which defines the open-air trading stalls. The design also includes special nodes, which are sections of the market designed as community gathering spaces.
The project is under construction and site establishment has taken place. The majority of challenges thus far have been a result of inefficiencies in government procurement and implementation processes. Relocation of existing traders has also proved to be difficult.