The team from W design Architecture studio’s vision for roundabout BROOKLYN, a new apartment building located in Nieuw Muckleneuk, a suburb just east of Pretoria’s central business district, on the “edge” between various commercial developments and traditional leafy residential suburbs, was to achieve both higher density and maintain a healthy suburb – respectful of both its historical context and its future aspirations.
Taking their main inspiration from the Louis Khan quote, “I try to create homes, not houses”, their aim was to create a building that will exist in harmony with its surroundings, with a focus on honesty, longevity and above all, liveability.
W design architecture studio comments: “As architects and developers we shape our cities. A structure like this needs to function as a mediator between the various ‘personalities’ that surround the area.”
Suburban dream home
One of the great characteristics of the property is the staggering sights of many of Pretoria’s most notable sites – the design approach had to make the most of this. The view stretches out from Fort Klapperkop, Fort Schanskop, the Telkom tower in Lukasrand, and out towards the central business district and the Magaliesberg mountain ridge.
By distilling the suburban dream (a secure home that lives out towards a garden) and downscaling it, the benefits of apartment living combined with high-end luxury offers a solution to those seeking a home, rather than a transitional space.
Containing 21 apartments and with a stepped structure, the building is sensitively scaled in response to its neighbours and context. The street-facing units open towards the sidewalk and become part of the streetscape. Where single-storey residential neighbours exist, the new structure is only two storeys high while those behind them, where the building backs onto a shopping centre, rise to five storeys.
Material honesty is central to the development’s quest for simplicity. Opting for the bare minimum of single-trade and unfinished materials, this is a structure that reveals its parts openly. A quick glance at roundabout BROOKLYN reveals impeccably laid face brick in two shades, combined with unfinished concrete and steel. The building’s clean-lined, contemporary form along with a no-fuss aesthetic emphasises the experience of living in each space: The surplus of natural light, the quality of the finishes and ready access to green open spaces.
“These new homes have the reassuring feel of living in a place and neighbourhood that’s very familiar – and provides one with an inspiring and contemporary revelation of a city that’s starting to apply new layers onto the old, and building towards the future,” W design concludes.
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