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gabriella shukor

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retrofitting for the entrepreneur: the case of skills village in makers valley, johannesburg

This dissertation explores the intricacies of an existing collection of buildings that make up a place called Skills Village, east of Johannesburg’s inner city. The enquiry finds lessons in the found, namely of user agency, appropriations of space and value in the existing. It is contextualised in an entrepreneurial space that seeks to access 4th industrial revolution technologies.

The project draws directly from Skills Village, in which a programmatic and architectural intervention is generated, responsive to the built environment and anticipated users. It uses the theories of shared space, adding value to existing, temporality, agency, appropriate technology, and bricolage, in order to enhance the existing qualities of the site.

This manifests as a Tech Hub and Makerspace, that retrofits a set of structures for the young, social and creative entrepreneur. The architecture explores the building potential through an intervention that adds value to the existing, creates a responsive environment as well as material reuse – all of which enhance the existing bricolage of people, program, and place at Skills Village. It is rooted in a greater endeavour that seeks to densify city spaces and to position oneself as a spatial practitioner that finds innate value in everyday practices, perceives building as resource, and accommodates for change over time.

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