Victoria Yards – A Jo’burg Gem
Garden as though you will live forever.
– William Kent
Located in the tiny suburb of Lorentzville Victoria Yards join other creative spaces like Maboneng and the Newtown Precinct in reviving neglected parts of Jo’burg’s inner city. These previous no-go zones are becoming gathering places for artists, artisans, and art lovers, while boosting the local economy.
What struck me most was the lush urban garden that flourishes amongst the collection of 20th century warehouses and industrial buildings, which covers 30,000 square metres. The organic waste produced by the tenants are used in the compost that is made on site, while the vegetables that are grown are sold during their First Sundays market. To further encourage a symbiotic relationship between man and nature, owl boxes were installed to encourage natural pest control.
Developer Brian Green, who is also responsible for creating 44 Stanley in Milpark, teamed up with a couple of partners to breathe new life in a derelict space that was originally built and used as a laundry in the early 1900s. There is a strong focus on community engagement, which includes providing jobs and training for members of the immediate community.
The walls of the buildings were not plastered or painted over, but was left in a raw state, not only adding to the character of the space, but also preserving a visible history. The green of the garden softens the stark industrial look, and together they exist in what appears to be a perfect harmony.
Artists and various other creatives, who have their work spaces here are not just surrounded by an environment that is inspirational, but other like-minded people. The list of tenants include a gallery, fine artists, furniture makers, photographers, clothing manufacturers, ceramicists, a carpenter, a copper artist, glass blowers, and even book binders. And to satisfy the stomach there is a fish & chips shop, coffee roastery and bakery, a craft brewery which also serves woodfired pizzas, and gin distillery.
# Opening hours: 9h00 – 17h00 on Weekdays
10h00 – 17h00 on Saturdays
1st Sunday of the month
# During their First Sundays campaign all the studios are open, while fresh produce from the property and other artisanal products are also sold.
# Victoria Yards have a couple of Event Spaces they rent out, so if you are looking for somewhere different to host an event, this is definitely a funky place to consider.
Visited: January 2019
## Read our latest post to see what we’ve been doing on our land in Portugal during our June visit.