Jozi Rows

This project evolves the traditional Terraced Housing typology as a medium-density housing solution to meet the urban housing shortage in a well-designed yet affordable way. A traditional terrace(d) house is a style of medium-density housing that originated in 17th century Europe. JoziRows adapts this typology 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. Responding to many urban and social issues present in the city, JoziRows uses the development rights given to conventional cluster developments, but offers an alternative product. 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 its intended purpose. 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.