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Orange Farm Township Project

This book was published as project documentation and catalogue for the "Orange Farm Township Project", part of the exhibition "Jo´burg now! Baustelle Südafrika" in the Architekturzentrum Wien. In the course of a design project at Vienna University of Technology’s Institute of Housing and Design under the guidance of Peter Fattinger, Sabine Gretner and Franziska Orso 26 architecture students designed two social facility buildings for Orange Farm, a typical township of the post-apartheid era on the periphery of Johannesburg.


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Masibambane College, a school in the township that has been supported by the city of Vienna since 1996, was the starting point for the project. The students planned a multifunctional building for this constantly growing college. In addition they developed a day-care centre with a sheltered workshop for “Modimo o Moholo”, a local organisation for the disabled. After an initial three-month design phase in Vienna the team travelled to Johannesburg in February 2004 where they erected both buildings in a self-build process within the space of only five weeks. Simple, inexpensive and locally available building materials were employed using innovative and experimental detail solutions. The team was strengthened by five skilled workers from Orange Farm as well as members of the organisation for the disabled. The special aspects of this project are not just the architectural end products but, above all, the complex development process and the insight that was gained through shared everyday experiences.