Aerial view of Brickfields, Newtown, Johannesburg

The Brickfields Social Housing Precinct is located in the inner city of Johannesburg, close to the Mandela Bridge and the Metromall Taxi Rank, on the historic brickfields of Johannesburg dating back to the 1890’s. The overall development consists of 3 separate Precincts; Brickfields (D+E) 345 units, Legae (C)* and Phumulani (A+B) 178 units. It is owned and managed by the Johannesburg Housing Company. The project was financed with both government subsidies and public private partnership funding and loans. It forms part of the Presidential Job Summit Programme that aims to promote job creation through key urban regeneration projects.

“ Brickfields was Johannesburg’s first inner city high rise development in 30 years and is JHC’s most ambitious project so far. Comprising 742 units in a mix of low rise and high rise buildings, it was JHC’s first exposure to high rise construction. It is JHC’s largest single investment, and the first time that a consortium of financiers including government, private banks and private investors have come together in a social housing project. The development is part of the City of Johannesburg’s Newtown urban regeneration scheme, and to date has brought approximately 1600 new residents into this section of the city. Brickfields was the second of JHC’s projects to be opened by the South African president. President Mbeki was joined on the podium by the Gauteng Premier, Mbhazimi Shilowa, Johannesburg’s Mayor, Amos Masondo, Lazarus Zim, Chief Executive of Anglo American Corporation, and Steve Booysens, Chief Executive of Absa Bank, MEC for Housing in Gauteng, Nomvula Mohanyane was the programme Director.” JHC 10 Year Report.

This development is a landmark achievement in many respects, not only for the Johannesburg Housing Company, but also in showing the way forward in mixed use housing precincts and affordable entry level housing that can compete in terms of quality in the open market. The size and location of the project, the design decision to incorporate both walk up and high rise components, the quality of the development and the complex financing structure, make this development a landmark achievement.

Brickfields consists of a perimeter block development with both 9 storey tower and 4 storey walk up units located around a central parking courtyard. Smaller courtyards separate the perimeter blocks from inner blocks and are separated by circulation staircase and drying yard elements.Phumulani, consists of walk up units only punctuated by parking and recreational courtyard areas.

It is a mixed use development that in addition to residential units provides retail units, live-work units and community facilities such as a crèche, community recreation room and playground areas. We believe that the success of Brickfields should be measured in two areas, it should effortlessly become absorbed into the city, as a ‘background building’, and secondly it should be a neighbourhood both on the level of the city and within itself. Housing success should be measured in terms of people.


Brickfields Affordable Housing, Newtown, Johannesburg
Brickfields, street view of 'work-live' apartments
Brickfields Interior, Newton, Johannesburg