South African property developer Citiq has recently completed the renovation of unused grain silos in Newtown, Johannesburg, into low-cost – and rather unique-looking – student accommodation, which also features multi-colored shipping containers to the top and side.
The Mill Junction project comprises 10 stories based in disused silos, which have had windows cut into the facade, and an additional four floors of shipping containers stacked atop the silos to increase available space. Even more of the metal boxes are affixed to the side of the building, too. In all, there's 375 apartments, plus common areas such as study rooms, communal kitchens, a library, and gym. The rooftop has been astro-turfed and is said to offer excellent views of the city.
Some thought went into making Mill Junction as sustainable as possible, and heat pumps for hot water production, motion-sensor-activated energy-efficient lighting, and double-glazed windows were all installed. Citiq reckons that these steps have cut power consumption by up to 50 percent when compared to a typical building, though no figures have been made available to back these claims up.
Providing the usual pitfalls typical to shipping container-based architecture have been handled (solar heat gain and inadequate insulation, for example), in this author's opinion, the Mill Junction development makes a nice addition to the city's skyline. Not everyone's a fan though, and Citiq acknowledges that the build has drawn its fair share of both praise and criticism from locals.