Johannesburg has a new rainbow-colored high-rise that’s an unlikely pastiche of architectural types. Brightly-colored shipping containers meet decrepit-looking grain silos at Mill Junction, an innovative development that realizes a 370-bed student dormitory smack dab in a city with few student housing options. Floor slabs were inserted into the silos, and windows punched into their thick concrete walls. The shipping containers were then lifted into place and welded together.
For Citiq, the property developers behind the project, Mill Junction represents the company’s commitment to exploring the potential of inner-city regeneration efforts. “What these types of projects do for us is open up the city landscape. So, we can take derelict parts of the city and do something significant with them,” says Citiq CEO Paul Lapham. The grain silos had been abandoned for an estimated 50 years and were bought at a bare minimum price, “so, the overall cost savings was probably fairly significant at 30 or 40 percent over a conventional retailed price for a project site.” He adds that by using shipping containers, the material and assembly costs were additionally lowered by at least 20%.