GIFA Office Interior

The Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIFA) was looking to relocate to a new emerging and trending part of Johannesburg’s CBD. Maboneng, located in the East side of town, was the most logical choice.

The concept of reusing old industrial spaces is not novel to the world, and is currently the strategy adopted by many visionary young developers of Johannesburg. The newly conceived Built Environment Centre (BEC), dubbed as the first collaborative creative space in Johannesburg, was to be the new home for GIFA.

Conceptually, the program had to be flexible to allow for a multitude of uses to take place within one space. The existing stark and rough industrial finish of the interior, coupled with the multitude of overlapping users, presented the challenge.

The space needed to facilitate exhibitions for students, professionals and organisations related to the industry. It needed to house GIFA, the Legrand concept store, and a bakery with coffee shop, provide soft seating areas, hot desks, meeting rooms of various sizes and be venue to large conferences and auxiliary events.

“The existing volume is extremely long in proportion, approximately 63 m x 10 m. We therefore decided early on that accentuating this linear geometry would be a good way to direct views into the deep space in an effort to attract passers-by to come in from the street” says Alessio Lacovig. The use of sliding screens reinforces the concept and help to channel movement and activity deep into the space. Designer furniture was sourced from a local manufacturer, Raw Studio, as these items are of high quality and made from sustainably sourced and environmentally responsible engineered materials.

In an attempt to improve GIFA’s presence within the space and to ensure a healthy and engaging environment, the administration office, which is the heart of the institute, was centrally located. Made from elegantly fixed frameless glass panels, this precise enclosure highly contrasts the rough off-shutter concrete columns, beams and soffit framework of the shell it occupies.

The BEC is a new exiting concept which will aid GIFA to increasing its member base and thereby improve its ability to assist Architects and the industry at large.

Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg