The City of Cape Town with its partners is steering a precinct-based approach to the delivery of affordable rental in the Woodstock and Salt River area close to the CBD. This involves multifaceted rental housing projects aimed at improving the lives of Cape Town’s disenfranchised residents.
Apart from the social housing endeavour the first programme implemented is that of ‘transitional housing’, intended to provide alternative accommodation for residents informally occupying pockets of land earmarked for social housing in the area. Such accommodation is not of permanence hence ‘transitional’ but enables the relocated 18 households to transition to a place of permanence enabling the City of Cape Town to unlock 240 social housing opportunities.
The site which houses the transitional accommodation facility is located in Pickwick Road, Salt River.Home to an orphanage and a workshop; an edifice that defines the project footprint. The area is a narrative of a proliferation of the ‘light-industrial/warehouse’ typology and has an identity rooted in cultural significance whilst also adapting to its burgeoning urban fringe, experiencing high volumes of multi-use developments and innovative reuse of buildings, extending and redefining the urban landscape.
A design informed in its infrastructure by pragmatic considerations solely focused on occupational ergonomics, a communal occupancy whereby the room is defined as private residence and kitchen and bathrooms become the public shared spaces and amenities outside (drying yard). The lettable areas and construction technology largely take precedence over aesthetic or urbanist concerns. Knitting the urban fabric or pursuing continuity of building scale or language is considered only minutely as the building scale variation is vast in the area in comparison to the requirements of the project.
The conception and development of transitional and social housing is governed largely by stringent budget constraints (capital and operational). To develop a recognisable brand in terms of such facilities is born by the architecture conscious of the ability to configure a design cognisant of the re-use of which it is intended.
The construction is of traverse spheres of urbane and humane in its execution as the project brief necessitated a pragmatic programme. The construction of a communal model with shared facilities built as an additional extension to an existing edifice completely redefined in use to residential informed the design brief.
Design brief, informants and constraints
Hierarchy of space uses:
• Core functional – Mirrored design of ground (existing building) and first floor (an additional floor), consisting of rooms, kitchen and bathrooms.
• Front-of-house/back-of-house – Security controlled property with digital access to front entrance and security-controlled back courtyard access for the occupants.
• Human resource management – Security office occupants and employed for varying maintenance programmes aimed at the betterment and uplifting of this community
Challenges experienced were those of security and control of the facility as the occupants have varying personal challenges, this design informant had to be constantly revisited and accommodated in the most humanistic method which is preventative of producing isolative living.