johannesburg-based counterspace studio investigates architectural potential of city’s abandoned mine dumps johannesburg-based counterspace studio investigates architectural potential of city’s abandoned mine dumps
jul 19, 2016

johannesburg-based counterspace studio investigates architectural potential of city’s abandoned mine dumps

johannesburg-based counterspace studio investigates architectural potential of city’s abandoned mine dumps

 

 

 

design indaba news: counterspace studio was founded in 2014 by young architecture graduates sumayya vally, sarah de villiers, and amina kaskar. their collaborative work consists of conducting research-led investigations into ideas of futures and otherness in their city of johannesburg. as their name suggests, counterspace searches for projects that have a somewhat unconventional quality to them: ‘a sort of ephemeral strangeness that intrigues us‘. at the same time, their work often involves a certain sense of activism against the norms of policy and space in south africa‘s biggest city, especially in the forgotten and contested areas. through their practice they create ‘spatial fairytales’ to highlight observations of how history has affected contemporary urban narratives.

johannesburg counterspace architecture abandoned mine dumps design indaba designboom
art work inspired by the mine dumps of johannesburg
image courtesy of counterspace

 

 

 

a recent exploration into the re-appropriation of johannesburg’s mine dumps led counterspace to discover clues (‘urban fossils’) of how abandoned spaces in south africa are being used: tools from ritualistic ceremonies, unmarked graves, tales of ghosts, and antique shards of glass. they presented their findings in a ‘forensic scan’, which was exhibited as part of the inaugural chicago architecture biennial.

 


counterspace architecture on investigating johannesburg’s abandoned mine dumps
video courtesy of design indaba

 

 

 

another initiative they were involved in, completed in partnership with the 1to1 agency for engagement, looked at johannesburg’s waste reclaimers and the trademark vehicles they use to move around the city. these collectors pick-up the discarded remnants of consumer products in which they see economic value. counterspace held a number of workshops with these recyclers, mapping the use of the auret street building as a waste organizing space and as a place where many of the recyclers live. counterspace used their findings to suggest some alterations to the building that would make it safer for its inhabitants, as well as initiating an experimental arts and culture project within the building to help create awareness for the work the recyclers carry our in the city.

 

counterspace is just one example of the creative development in africa. read more about design in africa on design indaba here: www.designindaba.com/african-design

johannesburg counterspace architecture abandoned mine dumps design indaba designboom
artistic visualization of what johannesburg’s mine dumps could be used as
image courtesy of counterspace

johannesburg counterspace architecture minedumps design indaba designboom
some potential concepts for transforming the city’s mine dumps
image courtesy of counterspace
johannesburg counterspace architecture minedumps design indaba designboom
residential and leisure programs, along with the development of new ecosystems are envisioned
image courtesy of counterspace


3D view of auret street building
image courtesy of counterspace


recycling sorting in johannesburg
image courtesy of counterspace


remnants from the mine dumps in johannesburg
image courtesy of counterspace

 

 

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design indaba
is a multifaceted platform committed to a better world through creativity. the south-african online publication hosts an annual festival and social impact do tank in cape town. the design indaba festival has been created by ravi naidoo in 1995, with focus on african and global creativity, through the lens of the work and ideas of leading thinkers and doers, opinion formers, trendsetters and industry experts.

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