Drivelines Apartments – A Symphony of Space

  • Architect: LOT-EK
  • Location: Maboneng, Johannesburg
  • Size: 7000 m2
  • Material: Shipping Containers
  • Pricing: R3950 – R5000
  • No of Units: 103
  • Designed: 2014
  • Completion: 2017

This story is of a noble gem, located in the lively Maboneng Precinct. Housed alongside Albertina Sisulu Rd, a historic street linking travellers from Krugersdorp to OR Tambo Airport. This road carries various stories within its regional space. Scaling into the Maboneng Precinct, a vibrant artful complex which accommodates the creatives, residents and explorers. Maboneng becomes the youngest sister to Sandton, only enjoyable once accepted by it.

Along the journey of indulgence, there is a peculiar female awaiting one’s response. Tall enough to be seen but more so bold with her compelling pattern. A triangular grid for her facadé, where green divided by sliver then opens to a window. This morse code of programming she houses, allowing for her own to view the viewers without being seen. She is a geometric novel, each detail overlapping to the next, making a symphony in space.

“This morse code of programming she houses, allowing for her own to view the viewers without being seen.”

The attention to detail

Open, she is not however accessible for her children. Once crossing her shielded facade, her motherly enclosure is ever so present. Her ground floor on the left has a laundry store where electricity, airtime and essentials can be bought. The right side is a security post which overlooks all interactions on the street and passage. Allowed in, a tunnel swallows you into her courtyard, here her geometry is more profound. Each side mirrors each other, the only difference is the use of blue containers. 

Drivelines is made up of two seven storey isolated buildings, which connect at the offset ends like a skewed Y. At the connection is the elevators, this branches out to the private patio space/passage then into the designated apartments. Each apartment has a standard size of 5m (16ft) x 3m (9ft), this is approximately two shipping containers. An open plan of a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. The corner apartments are three containers with the same functions.

Within the container is reflector insulation, keeping the home in comfortable temperatures. Each apartment is soundproof and painted with fireproof paint (1 hour resistance). There is a heat pump system which supplies high pressure hot water in seconds because of this technology, hot water is not billed to any of her children. A parent however has their own faults, during rain there are leakages within the passages. Soon to be corrected with a covering, a mesh of sorts.

She is organic in your material, all that is seen is all that she is. Viewing the Johannesburg skyline in her multifaceted cut outs. She makes you feel safe, isolated enough yet inclusive with the city. She is a stern overprotective mother but softer than most once seen in her vulnerabilities. One eventually falls in love with her, whether expecting or not.

“She is a stern overprotective mother but softer than most once seen in her vulnerabilities.”

A safe space

Drivelines speaks volumes to community, whether its isolating the city or inclusive there is a sense of community amongst the tenants. It is comforting in ways one would not think they need. Building management promotes individuality and inclusive support. There are braais held for all tenants to unwind and debrief within themselves, while overlooking the city. If I envisioned a city of community this it what I see, honest raw material overdressed by the personality of its users. People make space and should be allowed to do so through the design of things. 

Penny for your thoughts…

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