Project 35 is a middle-income housing development, which tries to break the trend of gated communities in Northern Johannesburg, by creating defensible public spaces through well-considered edge development. It comprises 500 residential units, a mosque, a community centre, retail space and offices. Local Studio acted as urban designers on this project as well as designing the largest block within the development. Two other architectural firms designed the remaining two blocks within the development.
Local studio had been involved with the Adamjee Group for many years before working on this project together. The design process looks to appropriate urban archetypes, such as the courtyard or perimeter block and combines this with an organic, sectional scheme, which terraces to respond to northern light. The architecture is decidedly modern and playful, considering the fact that the site is a true greenfield, with very little local urban character, having previously been a farm.
Most challenges on this project arose from the fact that market-driven development trends in the northern suburbs often tend to run counter to good urban principles, making is difficult to convince the client of proposed ideas. The project was cancelled to make way for a much larger urban development scheme, which is responding to the client’s very ambitious revised acquisition plan.