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Talisman Foundation - Additions
Parktown, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Joseph Michael Francis (Jo) NOERO: Architect
1995SAIA Award of Merit
Street:1 Princess Place


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26°11'01.57" S 28°02'36.69" E Alt: 1764m


The building is part of a psychiatric rehabilitation centre run by the Talisman Foundation which aims to bridge the gap between psychiatric illness and reintegration into the community. The new wing consists of workshops and offices for therapists, and six apartments for six people living together.

The new wing responds to the scale and form of the existing buildings and draws them into one cohesive whole. The building mirrors the L-shaped annex and creates a new courtyard at a manor house and the annex. This new courtyard creates a protected and enclosed environment without being isolated from the surrounding context. The building also responds to the context through the choice of materials which reinterpret the concrete frame and brick infill language typical of Parktown apartment blocks. The construction is simple and honest and demonstrates exactly how the building has been made.

The new wing deals with privacy levels in the vertical dimension. The therapy workshops and offices are located on the ground floor with direct access to the courtyard garden. The first floor is taken up by the shared living spaces of the apartments which overlook the courtyard by means of balustraded sliding doors. Both these levels take advantage of the therapeutic nature of sunlight through the large window openings. The private individual bedroom spaces are located on the second floor with smaller window openings. The rooms are comfortable and compact. The central passage and the bedrooms are lit and cross-ventilated through a skylighted ceiling space.

The only criticism which the assessors had was that the north and west facades had the same climatic control devices. Nevertheless, the facades and spaces are well proportioned and comfortable in scale, an extremely elegant solution in spite of the restricted budget.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.