This is an alteration to a famous art deco apartment building in Hillbrow, called Mimosa Square, which had been hijacked for 15 years and was the first urban renewal project undertaken by the client, Urban Task Force – a property development firm. The new structure places the public service centre at the top of the building, allowing prospective tenants a 270º view of the city. The commission originated when the developer previously sponsored the public space for the Outreach Foundation, a project that Local Studio had worked on. The developer appreciated the speed and precision of that steel structure and appointed Local Studio for this project.
In line with the majority of Local Studio projects in the inner city, the building is clearly a new addition to the existing structure. The form and materiality of the building evoke the sense of a parasite, which is striking and visible from far away. The building site, being a small ledge 15 floors above Hillbrow, proved to be a challenge to access. The project also took somewhat longer than anticipated to complete due to Local Studio being contracted to many other projects in the inner city at the same time. Despite this, the project has been built beautifully with well-considered insulation and passive ventilation aspects.