Westbury Housing

CLIENT: Johannesburg Development Agency

PROGRAM: Housing, retail and communal spaces


LOCATION: Westbury, Johannesburg, Gauteng

BUDGET: R20 million per block

Architect | Local Studio in collaboration with IYER Urban Design Studio
Engineer | Hlanganani Engineers




The Westbury Housing Project arose out of the precinct plan Local Studio had proposed for Westbury from which the NMT links and the Westbury Bridge have been completed. When beginning work on this project, Local Studio immediatley recognised the problematic layouts of the walk-up apartment buildings haphazardly placed in the centre of the township. The current urban environment promotes a lack of safety and a general lack of ownership and neighbourhood pride by residents, primarily through a lack of definition and grading of public and private space. Local Studio's intervention was primarily at the urban scale, through a proposed network of NMT routes, that created a new street grid and divided the land into developable portions. The idea was that each resultant block of land would form a new courtyard-style development, made up of several existing blocks and new buildings.

This project was part of a tender for the Westbury precinct plan that Local Studio won together with IYER Urban Design Studio. Like most of Local Studio's work, the design process is governed by a clear definition and articulation of the public realm and a rendering all new buildings in striking, unusual materials to clearly contrast with the existing context. An interesting challenge that has arisen is a push-back from the local community, who felt that semi-private courtyards would create opportunities for undesirable activities, such as dog-fighting and meth-cooking, to thrive.