Pablo Fernandez-Villaverde

Pablo Fernandez-Villaverde

New York, NY, US


Miners' social activator

South Africa is a nation shaped by economic, social, and political inequalities. The purpose of my project is delivering the basic infrastructure to the most disadvantaged class to counteract their alienation from their living environment, empowering its identity in order to join broader economic and social network.

With this aim, the chosen location of intervention is the miners’ hostel in the township of Alexandra. This large volume reduces it scale by volume decomposition and material combination. The new intermediating scale integrates better in the townships’ urban fabric, while conserves the memory of the oppressive past. The building gets filled with a new program and the ground floor becomes public, as well as the fragmented patio. All this interventions are addressed to improve miners’ status, becoming an attraction for the people and enabling strong communal interaction. The area of the hostel is increased by an addition of a new structure to the façade and the occupation of the patio, eliminating the current Panopticon configuration. Thus, the same location that symbolized segregation becomes a space of integration, implication, and community organization.

Understood as the first step on a set of interventions in hostels throughout Johannesburg, the building of Alexandra gets physically connected with a Mineworkers’ Union in Maboneng through an aerial tram, which would eventually connect the main focuses of mining activity in the city

Read more

Status: School Project
Location: Johannesburg, ZA
My Role: Only person involved