Hyde Park House render
Hyde Park House render
Image: Supplied

Those people who take the short cut between Hyde Park and Illovo will have noticed the large wall at the top end of 1st Road Hyde Park. It has recently been painted black, with the words “Belong Here” splashed across it in red. It’s adjacent to a certain elaborate house, infamous for its arsenal of statues; the two contrasting facades are a metaphor for the way in which the residential market is shifting.

Behind the black wall, Hyde Park House is a next-gen solution to lacklustre sectional title living. “Belong Here” is an apt tagline for property trailblazers Propertuity and Narrative’s joint venture. The phrase puts into words what they plan to achieve with this holistic residential development: a sense of belonging and a dose of the city in the suburbs.

Sprawling mansions on many-acred stands are becoming unsustainable in a city with growing numbers, rising municipal costs, and security threats. Propertuity founder and CEO Jonathan Liebmann claims that this — with a sweeping hand gesturing an 8,864m² former family home — represents the future of such ostentatious homes, with low-density sprawl no longer being realistic.

Propertuity masterminded Maboneng, and has earned a reputation for turning disused inner-city buildings into vibrant hubs for living, working, and leisure. Its foray into the suburban calm of Hyde Park is a giant leap, a coming of age that hints at the company’s future movements. “This is Propertuity’s first move outside of the Joburg and Durban CBDs, which have been our focus for the last 11 years. While Propertuity remains a brand focused on urban regeneration, we have the ability to surprise with unexpected, yet relevant developments like Hyde Park House,” says Richard Berold, the property’s sales manager.

This building digs deep to afford its owners a more holistic and considered experience

The group of 30-somethings at Propertuity, together with Jamie Levin of Narrative — a property development brand with a future-thinking approach — comprise a young team, and who better to rock the boat when it comes to sectional title-living in Johannesburg?

What sets Hyde Park House apart from a multitude of homes-turned-developments across Johannesburg is design and the arts. Bringing the connectedness and buzz of the city into the calm and privacy of the suburbs is a union the developers call super-urban.

“As suburban areas like Hyde Park become denser, they will naturally take on the qualities of urban space. The super-urban is a necessary stepping stone in the movement towards full-blown urbanism, which is imminent for this area,” Liebmann says.

Hyde Park House takes an approach that’s driven by community. It includes features such as a micro dog park, yoga studio, swimming pool, bicycle facilities, an urban farm, from which residents can pick fresh vegetables, and a sculpture park, which will be open to the public. All of these amenities are part of a desire to bring residents together, as well as unite them with their neighbourhood.

Hyde Park House render
Hyde Park House render
Image: Supplied

Architect Enrico Daffonchio of Daffonchio & Associates is behind the design of the 49 apartments and 13 houses. “The aesthetics of the project aimed to question the ‘white box’, creating a warm, soulful and dynamic living environment,” Daffonchio explains. His scheme is textured and incorporates raw materials such as terrazzo-style tiles, cor-ten steel, breeze block, face brick, and dense planting, which are a foil for the high-end, contemporary finishes within each unit.

The property’s expansive garden and immense trees were a major gain, as they forge a sense of character and authenticity lacking in new developments. In the same vein, part of the original 1930s heritage dwelling will be included in the new, art-centric club house, a move that nods to Propertuity’s reputation for honouring built heritage in the city. The club house is located at the centre of the property: it’s an ode to the past and forms the very heart of all residential amenities.

Currently, in true Maboneng style, the dwelling is being used as an artists’ residency, with artists Sarah Grace and Jonathan Freemantle working there. Once complete, Hyde Park House will include an impressive sculpture garden curated by Hazard Gallery, with about 15 works by the likes of Edoardo Villa and MJ Turpin, as well as the artists in residency. In this way, engagement with art is made possible for every resident, as well as the public on occasions when the sculpture garden will be opened up.

“This building digs deep to afford its owners a more holistic and considered experience, with elements like art, authentic design and a host of raw materials used throughout the private and public spaces,” Liebmann says.

If depth and soul are what residential developments lack, then Hyde Park House is upping the ante, all the while bridging the urban-suburban divide. Judging by the commitment the project has already garnered, with 40% of the units sold by the end of March, it’s exactly the kind of change homeowners are seeking in the property market. 

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