The site is situated on two parcels of land, bounded by Second Avenue, Third Avenue and Watt Street, and has historically been used as a taxi rank. Alexandra Township is one of South Africa’s oldest townships and contributes to many facets of urban life in Johannesburg.
By creating two buildings on the two land parcels and then linking them across Second Avenue at two levels, the brief, requiring 16 000m2 of retail space with a holding and taxi rank for 800 vehicles wrapped around it, was accommodated.
Block A houses the holding rank as well as the long-distance rank which connects Alexandra to other towns in Southern Africa. This building also houses the administration facilities of the taxi organisations and has workshop and washing spaces. Trading stalls face onto the colonnade that runs along Second Avenue. Taxis either enter Block A from street level or connect at first floor level across the northern bridge form Block B. Once in the holding ranks in Block A, taxis circulate up the ramped slabs and cross the second-floor bridge to return to Second Avenue. Here they enter the taxi rank that sits over the shopping centre in Block B. Once passengers are collected, they exit via a ramp along the edge of Block B, returning to Second Avenue.
Block B holds the retail component with its shops, mall space, service basement and the taxi rank. A small square faces onto Third Avenue with a food court facing onto it. The shopping centre is anchored by Pick ‘n Pay and the banks. The mall itself is in direct competition with Sandton City, Rosebank Mall, thus necessitating that the details and finishes be typical of this typology.
The street facades of the building are partly clad by a translucent polycarbonate skin, back-lit at night, which gives the building a layered depth.