The trendy Maboneng Precinct just got a little more funky with the launch of Drivelines Studios, a low-cost housing building that also doubles as a retail space. The new apartment block was developed by Propertuity and designed by New York-based award-winning architectural design studio LOT-EK.

It features 100 studio apartments sized between 37m² and 134m² available for rental at R4900 per month and space for three retail stores ranging in size between 62m² and 196m².

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“Containers are very relevant in Johannesburg. It’s is the biggest inland port in the world and 2km south of Maboneng there’s a huge industrial shipping park that has more shipping containers than any other part of the world that’s not a major water body,” says Propertuity CEO Jonathan Liebmann.

“Conceptually it’s quite relevant for me to think about how to reuse these containers, but within a much greater need, which is for residential housing projects.”

Drivelines Studio, located on Albertina Sisulu Street, was built above an existing single-storey structure that used to be a car-repair shop.

The development has been designed to make a bold statement and Propertuity says it works as a billboard marking an entry point to the Maboneng Precinct.

“Our focus is on reusing industrial objects and systems that are not intended for architecture and bring them into architecture. A lot of them have rust and cement, but we love the fact that we’re reusing stuff that would otherwise be waste. It’s still 100% steel and 100% hardwood plywood, so there’s a lot of wealth, a lot of resources in these containers,” explains LOT-EK partner Giuseppe Lignano.

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He believes that the city is onto something with the repurposing of shipping containers for other cities. “Johannesburg might be breeding a new way of doing something that is exportable, not only to other developing countries, but to super-developed countries like the US or Europe. It’s interesting what’s happening here,” he says.
Take a sneak peak into the apartments: