open library

On 19 September 2014, MTech UJ colleagues participated in the annual Park(ing) Day urban spectacle. This prompted an interesting fusion of the notions of parking space, park space, public space, learning space and living space. Equipped with these visionary tools, the group undertook to transform two parking bays at Jutastreet in Braamfontein.

The intervention explored two notions, namely, the ‘Domestication of Public Space’, as well as ‘Re-educating the City’, as a link to and in continuation of a project in 2012 on alternate approaches to the design and pedagogy of contemporary [Johannesburg] Inner City schools.

Custom-built timber-pallet furniture animated both parking bays. This added a layer of small-scale, domestic programme over the bays’ predisposed ‘cars-only’ functionality. The parking-edge was transformed into a liminal lounge and library space, attracting passers-by with magazines, books and decorative planting. The insertion of furniture and recreational activities not only inverted notions of public/private, scale and programme, but also reclaimed valuable leisure space in the city by encouraging user interpretation and activity.

After the event, the furniture and reading material were donated to Braamfontein’s Progressive Primary, who further interpreted the use and placement of the furniture for the children’s reading room.

Team: Laura Strydom, Naeem Kooreyshi, Samantha Trask, Francois Mercer, Shyam Patel, Shani Fakir

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