JoziRows in Forest Town, Johannesburg, is one of the latest residential building designed by South African office studioMAS architects + urban designers. The design was based on the ideas in the Courtyards in Oxford project. The project aims to achieve the spacious house with the feeling of safety with openness. It consists of 4 “lock-up-and-go” units, each with their own private courtyard and garden cottage.
We’ve evolved this concept further, using traditional Terraced Housing as a departure point. A traditional terrace(d) house is a style of medium-density housing that originated in late 17th century Europe… JoziRows adapts terraced housing to a contemporary design, offering a smaller scale variation of high-end courtyard houses.
+ Project description courtesy studioMAS architects + urban design
The brief entailed the creation of compact residential units, combining density with spaciousness, and the feeling of safety with openness.
We are passionate about creating design solutions that address the challenging urban housing issues faced in our land. In 2005, we began exploring these ideas in our Courtyards in Oxford project. Now, we’ve evolved this concept further, using traditional Terraced Housing as a departure point. A traditional terrace(d) house is a style of medium-density housing that originated in late 17th century Europe. While this typology was used extensively throughout the world, few contemporary examples exist in Johannesburg; this despite the growth in medium density development. JoziRows adapts terraced housing to a contemporary design, offering a smaller scale variation of high-end courtyard houses.
This development in Forest Town, Johannesburg, consists of 4 “lock-up-and-go” units, each with their own private courtyard and garden cottage. Consciously responding to many urban and social issues occurring in the city, JoziRows uses the development rights given to conventional cluster developments, but offers a different solution. Instead of hiding behind a high perimeter fence and losing more than 40% of a stand to internal roads and building lines, JoziRows doubles up on side walls and completely excludes internal access roads by using the street for that. This means that units feel more spacious and private, with more land used for gardens and useful building space.
Each unit comprises of three levels. The lower level, directly off the street, is the most public and consists of the main entrance and the garage. There is also an additional room with en suite bathroom on this level, which could be used as a guest bedroom, visitors lounge, study or office. As one ascends the main staircase into the living level, the nature of this flexible habitable space is experienced as it spills onto the deck and into the courtyard. The upper and most private level is the bedroom level. While the spaces are contained within glass sliding ‘walls’, the view toward the street and the garden at the back are vast. The bedroom area is designed as an open space which can be used as one big or 2 smaller bedrooms. Enclosing the courtyard, is a garden cottage, framed by a planted pergola.
The houses are economical in their use of space, private in their relationship with each other, and accessible in their interaction with the street. They delve into aspects of residential living and build on the tradition of seamless indoor-outdoor living, creating comfortable internal courtyards that maximize the experience of the temperate Johannesburg climate. While the interiors accommodate for private functions of family life, the facade has a direct dialogue with the street. We hope that this project will encourage its users to engage the urban realm and on a broader level, to further the debate about housing in this city.
+ Project details / credits
Location: Forest town, Johannesburg, South Africa
Site area: 1500m2
Built-up area: 764.8m2
Project start: March 2008
Completion: July 2010
Architect: studioMAS architects + urban designers
Principal designer: Pierre Swanepoel
Design team: Pierre Swanepoel & Marianne Anthonissen
Contractor: Luis Construction
Photographs: Barry Goldman