LogoEast Chiappini Street



Within the context of backyard rental units, often only a room, possibly with a shower and toilet, this project was conceived by my clients. Hence, they had purchased two adjacent sites. One having business rights, permitting a higher residential density. Their idea was to build as many micro rental residential units on the business site and to make use of the adjacent single residential site for secure parking. They told me that secure off street parking was a valuable commodity in this area. Both these sites faced onto a major road, with a bus stop right outside them. Unfortunately, the road was very alienating to the pedestrian. The business site was also located adjacent to a pedestrian street, running along it's west boundary. So the business site was actually a corner site between the main vehicular road and the pedestrian street.

Although the environment felt quite alienating to the pedestrian, I suggested that we include a small kiosk on the street corner. I felt that it's location had potential as it was at the start of the pedestrian street, and located on a major vehicular road right next to a bus stop. We discussed this and my clients became quite enthusiastic about the idea.

My clients told me that they needed to have at least 9 residential micro-units to make the scheme work financially. We were able to achieve 15 residential micro units, within the development envelope.

The brief was that each unit had to be as small as possible, say between 13m2 and 17m2. Also, each unit had to have it's own cooking facilities and bathroom with just a shower, w.c. & w.h.b.

The target market was single young professionals, young couples, or people new to the city. People in transition in their lives who basically just needed a place to sleep. Possibly with secure parking for their car.

Also, a laundry drying yard space was very important. This is accommodated on top of a tower block element, facing the street. Here a roof terrace here with stair access is located. The roof terrace is designed as a laundry drying yard space, with surrounding walls designed to screen the laundry.

The tower block presents a large blank facade, except for one window, to the street. The clients really liked this as it gave them additional revenue potential as advertising billboard space.


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Micro Units

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Lance Gilmour • Architect • Urban Designer
Contact: lance@lanceg.co.za