South Africa's Citiq Property Developers are ushering in a new era of innovative student housing with abandoned properties and repurposed materials. Mill Junction, their most recent project located in Johannesburg, was constructed out of two former grain silos topped with four floors of colorful shipping containers. The complex is the second of its kind in the city, and it offers hundreds of local university students quality, reasonably-priced living quarters.
According to official data, about half of South African undergraduate students drop out of school without a degree. Citiq is hoping to reduce that number by providing secure, comfortable and afffordable housing for local students. The Mill Junction Project, which can accomodate up to 400 students from surrounding universities, is equipped with communal kitchens, free wifi, study areas, a gym and various recreation rooms. The colorful rooftop has incredible views of the city and is covered in astro-turf, making it an inviting social area for the students and guests.
Not only is the project an eye-catching feat of innovative urban design, Mill Junction was built with the young residents’ specific living budgets in mind. Accordingly, offering energy-efficient and affordable accommodation was paramount to the design. In addition to giving the shipping containers and abandoned silos new purpose, the apartments have a number of energy-conserving features. In order to adapt the shipping containers to the project, windows and external doors were cut out and installed with the same double glazing as the rest of the building’s windows and doors. The entire building is equipped with efficient lighting features such as motion-sensor lighting. These features are estimated to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent compared to that of a a conventional building and as such, provide long term savings for students living at Mill Junction.
Paul Lapham, CEO of Citiq, explains the strategy behind Citiq’s unique student properties, “By providing quality student accommodation in good locations, and building from scratch we can provide energy and water efficient infrastructure that cuts down significantly on the running costs of a student residence. This approach coupled with an educational programme on being “earthwise” has achieved savings of up to 30% on the costs of water and electricity consumed. This money is then redirected into other facilities like free wifi, communal facilities and games rooms that provide a university campus feel to the residence.”
Mill Junction is not Citiq’s first foray into building with repurposed materials. In fact, their first shipping container development, SixtyOne on Countesses in Windsor, Johannesburg was the first of its kind to be built in the country and rented out in two days. Mr Lapham says that it’s the positive reaction from the community that drives the company to continue to meet the needs of the country’s young population, “Reusing these structures often provides for an artistic and eclectic look and feel, which appeals to people wanting to establish their own individuality. This alternative development approach, as compared to traditional building methods involving bricks and mortar, has guided our more recent property acquisitions and designs.”
Photos provided by Citiq Property Developers