Conradie Social Housing Phase 1

dhk Architects and Jakupa Architects & Urban Designers

Social housing in Cape Town is of urgent and ongoing concern. The first phase of this new high-density living project, for people with diverse incomes, should be commended for its functional aptness, design pragmatism, and generosity of spirit. It features red brick four-storey perimeter housing blocks, set in pleasantly landscaped grounds for open air activities. As an interesting contrast to the new buildings, the site also features older structures from the first half of the 20th century.

The ground floor facing outside is designed for mixed-use, office and small business retail space, with residential and other parking abutting. The blocks are separated by ‘streets’, with parking right around every block. Here, the architectural scale and spatial effect strikes one as more urban district/suburb than housing estate, a significant departure from the norm.

Each mixed-use block is built around a secure and private central courtyard, with generous stairways and passages, some of which are open to fresh air circulation. Although the building materials and finishes are not particularly sophisticated, the total aesthetic effect is not sub-economic. The austerity of the uniformly red brick facades is relieved by decorative brickwork panels adjacent to window apertures.

There is a congenial even-handedness in the distribution of smaller, medium, and larger units, catering to a hierarchy of public, semi-public, and private functions. No visual or other coding differentiation is made to indicate the exact income level of residents, ensuring mixed housing of a democratic kind, with every resident’s dignity and privacy intact. This kind of integration may well become a benchmark for projected socially integrated urban environments planned elsewhere in South Africa.

Architects:dhk Architects and Jakupa Architects & Urban Designers in JV

Urban Designers:dhk Architects and Jakupa Architects & Urban Designers in JV

Project Manager:Igual PM

Quantity Surveyor:MLC

Civil Engineer:Nadeson

Structural Engineer:Nadeson / Zutari

Mechanical Engineer:Solution Station

Other Consultants:dhk and Green Inc as landscape architects

Principal Contractors:Concor Western Cape

Electrical Engineers:Solution Station

Fire ConsultantsSolution Station