Modderfontein Town Centre Visioning

Modderfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa | 2017 | Text courtesy of dhk

Modderfontein on the eastern side of Johannesburg is the only substantial area in Johannesburg to have remained undeveloped, having served for many years as an exclusion zone around the AECI explosives factory. With advances in manufacturing technology, most of the area is no longer required and has been released for development.

Initial planning was taken forward by AECI’s development arm, Heartland, and the recent sale of the land to Chinese development group Zendai has injected fresh capital and fresh thinking, into the development of the area.

Precinct masterplans were developed by for the 300-hectare Modderfontein CBD and the Longlake Gateway Precinct, building on earlier high-level master planning work for the entire site by Dutch architects MVRDV and Chinese urban designers PHD.

Taking the bold and visionary ideas embodied in the previous work, the design team (led by dhk developed a precinct plan that was suited the South African development context and would be deliverable. The plans therefore started with an analysis of existing spatial, environmental, planning and development conditions, as well as research into Johannesburg’s historic development patterns. The area has been redefined as a series of four distinct neighborhood precincts, each with its own character and components. Developed on an underlying street grid that is orientated for the specific climate of the area, relates to its topography, and makes reference to historic Johannesburg development patterns the new precinct plans have been adopted and are informing future development on the site.