Fulham Heights is one of the first projects to demonstrate the principals and guidelines of the Johannesburg Corridors of Freedom policy. The policy looks to promote mixed-use development and residential densification in neighbourhoods adjacent to the recently-completed bus-rapid transit (BRT) network. The building is a conversion of an old corner shop, which was a Chinese restaurant and subsequently rented by Local Studio as office space prior to its purchase for redevelopment. Today the building houses Breezeblock Café and Whippet Cycle Company on the ground floor, Local Studio on the first floor and two residential units on the top floor.
Construction took the form of a three-storey structural steel frame inserted within the walls of the original building. Light-frame steel panels clad on either side with translucent polycarbonate were used to infill the façade on the East and South elevations, with glazing on the north and a solid wall of fibre-cement on the West. The new structure contrasts with the original concrete façade and pavement colonnade which was restored as part of the project.
The project, like many others by Local Studio, intends to be a lighthouse of hope and regeneration in the area and is designed to promote passive surveillance in an area fraught with petty street crime and housebreaking. The project is also one of the first development projects in the area to receive bank-finance, hopefully indicating a phase of renewed investment. A second phase of the development is planned one block away which will house 40 new residential units, half of which will be accessible as affordable rentals.
Client: Brixton Road Investments
Project area: 600 sqm
Awards: Sustainable Architecture Award, 2017/2018 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation.