Pretoria storage building UGLY

I am no architect and I don't have an artistic bone in my body (I battle to draw a decent stick-figure) ... BUT ... I do happen to drive past this building on most days and it is UGLY!

The Berlin Wall comes to mind.

Gareth Shepperson
Commercial and Property Attorney

Pretoria storage building ugly

A storage facility under construction in Brooklyn, Pretoria, was unsightly, with no architectural aesthetic, and would be detrimental to the historic residential character of the area, said city architects.

The new storage building going up on the corner of Justice Mohammed and Jan Shoba streets which has architects up in arms.

Prominent architects in Pretoria said the facility, at the intersection of Justice Mohammed (Charles) and Jan Shoba (Duncan) streets, should never have been allowed in the area.

They argued that the building, with its blank facades and no windows facing the streets, was not only ugly but cut off the area of activity at the intersection, thereby increasing the risk of criminal activities.

The concerned architects wrote to the Tshwane metro and the developer, StorAge, stating their case.

Jeremie Malan, of Jeremie Malan Architects & Interiors, described the building as insensitive from a town planning and architecture perspective.

Malan said no architectural finesse went into the design of the building, and the outcome would be detrimental to the environment.

Faan Nel and Gerrit Wassenaar, of Arca Architects and Designers, also expressed their disappointment.

'We believe the project will be detrimental to the neighbourhood. The construction should be halted.'

The site was a particularly important focus point on a major intersection and should have been used appropriately for a landmark building, they said.

'The architectural style of the building reflects its purpose as an industrial storage facility. Brooklyn is not an industrial neighbourhood, and the architecture of the building is more suited for industrial areas, such as Silverton.

'The building use is essentially industrial and should not have been allowed in a residential neighbourhood with selective low-rise offices, embassies, schools and retail in appropriate areas.'

The architecture 'completely ignores context and will be detrimental to the historic and established character of the neighbourhood', Nel and Wassenaar said.

They called for construction to be stopped and the rights granted on the site to be revisited as a matter of urgency.

Chris Wilkinson, of Wilkinson Architects, said in view of the severe damage that had occurred from building use and architectural aesthetic over the past couple of years, it was critical that the development be immediately stopped.

Wilkinson said the Justice Mohammed and Jan Shoba streets area was under severe pressure from development.

'As an architect concerned about my city in terms of aesthetical appearance, the safety and functionality, I find this development most inappropriate for this site, and believe it is totally detrimental to the city, although development rights have been granted and it is already under construction.'

Wilkinson said the site lent itself to either a residential or a mixed-use development that must 'activate' the streets and not cut itself off as the Stor-Age facility development had done.

'An example will be offices or residential above, and retail or restaurants on street level, that respond to the street in a positive manner.

'This kind of development belongs in an industrial area and should never have been allowed to be given development rights on this site. The storage facility has blank facades, with no windows overlooking the streets and pavement, allowing this area to become an unsafe pedestrian zone with no eyes on the street surveillance.'

Wilkinson said the development made the city unsightly, which would have a negative effect on investment and tourism. He described it as an opportunity lost in terms of regeneration of the city. He called for the development to be immediately stopped and for a tribunal to be convened to revisit the rights granted on the site.

The facility was scheduled to open this month, but building appears to be slightly behind schedule.

Cape Town-based Stor-Age said on its website that the Brooklyn facility would be a landmark and one of its flagship self-storage facilities. The purpose-built facility would be modern and attractive, offering upwards of 7 000m² of self-storage space comprising more than 650 self-storage units, the company said.

Speaking from Cape Town, Stor-Age spokesman Brandon Joscelyne said he was not in a position to comment on the issues raised by the architects, but would do so this week when he would be in Pretoria.

Pretoria News


Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!