This dissertation investigates the transformative possibilities inherent in a contemporary urban artefact in Jeppestown, a significant historical suburb dating back to the settlement of early prospectors who sought a precious yellow metal beneath the red earth of a
treeless veld. On this veld today stands the City of Johannesburg. The Johannesburg metropolis is scarred by the intersection of differences between those who have inhabited its streets. It has endured these differences and become a part of them through the multiple generations of its lifetime. Jeppestown or Jeppe to its residents, endures today with latent markings of apartheid as a transitional industrial buffer area west of the Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD). Jeppe exists today as a piece of this narrative and is one of the longest threads in the chronology of the habitation of the greater Johannesburg city. Imminent threats of gentrification and signs of poorly considered urban renewal schemes aimed at the transformation of public space in Jeppe provoke the following questions: What is the potential role of Jeppe within the greater metropolis? And how could the transformation of urban form in this context, through the act of design, begin to transform its potential value, meaning and significance as a place of belonging and becoming – to both those who currently inhabit it and the greater
population of the fluctuating metropolis that surrounds it? The proposed intervention is situated in the vicinity of Jeppe market and train station. It forms a part of an investigative
framework of architectural and landscape interventions along a regenerative urban
spine that connects the station square to Gilfillan Park (Jeppe Park). The objective
of the framework is defined as the conditional amplification of extant rituals, negotiated territories and lives & deaths through the introduction of responsive and constructive spatial interventions and the reconciliation of these with the existing fabric. Jeppestown is the subject of this inquiry and intervention, yet its post-apartheid predisposition in the urban context is not exclusive. The intention of the study through design is to postulate and identify a manner of working within the means of the architectural discipline, that itself is aligned with the endeavour of fostering an approach toward place making in the contemporary South African metropolis. This text serves as a record of events that have unfolded through the thoughts, actions and adopted processes for the design and investigation of a transformative urban artefact manifested as a social club in Jeppestown, Johannesburg.
Dissertation (MArch(Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2015.