The transformation in recent years of a number of homes on 4th Avenue in Parkhurst into antique shops, boutiques and small cafés is an interesting urban/suburban development that can be traced back to similar gentrification processes in other global cities such as London and New York. In Johannesburg, however, many of these converted houses still maintain a residential, closed-off relationship with the high street through their existing boundary walls and set-backs from the road.
This project engages with this discomfort with the street through the linking and conversion of two suburban houses on a busy street into retail shops. It creates a much more vibrant urban edge, encouraging a direct and open relationship with the street. Although the existing facades of the two converted homes have been maintained, the removal of the boundary wall and the introduction of a covered walkway creates a new urban feel to the street.
The new shops fit comfortably into the residential neighbourhood, maintaining its scale and nature, while simultaneously giving a fresh face to the retail strip.