Newtown, Johannesburg, South Africa – Citiq
One doesn’t need to look hard to find unused, unloved buildings in the older parts of our cities. Warehouses have become sought after properties with their thick walls and high ceilings while other, less desirable properties are often left to slowly decay. If you’ve ever been close up and personal with a grain silo, you know that they are big… very big. If you’re an engineer, you also know that they are strong… very strong. But they’re also just big, empty cylinders!
Meanwhile, the numbers of unwanted shipping containers continue to spiral since it inevitably costs more to return an empty container than it does to scrap it!
In a moment of madness or genius, South African property developer, Citiq, decided to meld the two into low-cost student accommodation. It’s certainly not beautiful, and the accommodations are very basic and industrial, but they are functional and affordable. It’s also surprisingly green.
The Mill Junction project comprises five abandoned silos, each now containing ten floors. Windows have been cut into the facade to ensure ample light and ventilation. Then, four more levels of shipping containers have been stacked on top of the silos to effectively double available space. A further seven 40′ containers were stacked and attached vertically to the side of the building! Both silos and containers are designed to be pretty much indestructable so it’s a case of like meets like.
In total, there are 375 apartments, plus multiple common areas that include study rooms, communal kitchens, a library, and gym. The rooftop has been hardscaped as a recreation area, offering excellent views over the city.
The Mill Junction project was designed to be as sustainable as possible with heat pumps for hot water production, motion-sensor-activated energy-efficient lighting and double-glazed windows. Citiq claims that power consumption is up to 50 percent lower than a comparably sized, comparable use building,
The project has been controversial with as many critics as supporters. For our money, we think it’s a winner, in that it upcycles unused space into safe, secure accommodation!
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