We do not see, to learn effectively from our past
mistakes and, similarly, we do not seem to learn
from the opportunities that architecture, beyond
its utility, presents.
The old Johannesburg gasworks site expresses
the development of a city that originated from
industrial sprawl. The massive post-industrial
edifices of Johannesburg are canvases that portray
years of production processes and reflect the
Avant-garde of the time. However, the mono-functionality
of the architecture of the Gasworks precinct,
used for capital gain, has now left the site
deserted after decommissioning in the late 1990’s.
The site is an empty frame, privately bounded with
no interaction with the surrounding context, or the
It is now a wasteland encroached by nature,
infused with the remnants of human-made pollutants.
But the critically located site oozes latent
potential that, if managed appropriately, can
transform the critical Empire Perth corridor, which
stretches through the city of Johannesburg, a critical
urban framework for the future development
of the city.
It is time that we learn from our past mistakes, using
the memories of place, to produce an expressive
and didactic architecture, educating people
through a non-linear non-destructive space. This
expressive architecture will create new memories
and ideas, through encouraged dialogue. Where
this architecture and process coincide in the urban
context, it will deal with immediate environmental
issues in spaces where constructive engagement
with the public is encouraged.
Mini Dissertation MArch(Prof)--University of Pretoria, 2018.