Parktown, Johannesburg

The Edwardian residence known as The Mount was built in 1910 along the Parktown Ridge in Johannesburg.  Set back from the road, the building takes advantage of the magnificent views from the ridge.

Owned by the University of the Witwatersrand and the new tenant, the Sydney Brenner Institute of Molecular Biology, required a refurbishment to suit their requirements.  The architects, Lemon Pebble Design and Greenbrick Architects together with Mayat Hart recognised the significance of the building and its setting.  The building had however been altered over time with the north view facing façade being closed up.  It provided the perfect opportunity to interrogate and subvert the spaces while representing all the historical layers and exploring ideas around special equity.

The new interventions included a steel and glass box revealing the view while reinstating the original columns and balcony.  The house and its outbuildings were refurbished and the original staff staircase exposed as a counterpoint to the main timber staircase.  The refurbishment reflects the new face of the institute as being at the forefront of research and development while giving the neglected building a new direction and vision.