Book Review : Tales of the Reuse of Johannesburg's Modernist Skyscrapers

By Hannah le Roux

Associate professor of Architecture, University of the Witwatersrand

Up Up: Stories of Johannesburg’s Highrises is a slab of a book about buildings and stories from Johannesburg’s original city centre. The project is put together by four young editors from Switzerland with considerable support from a number of Johannesburgers.

The local authors have generously shared their experiences as urban researchers and latter-day flâneurs (a flâneur is a timeless urban wanderer-poet rooted in nineteenth-century French literary culture).

The Up Up authors' texts alternate with images sourced from the mid-century architecture journal, the South African Architectural Record, and contemporary photographs taken by Mpho Mokgadi. In its feeling and form, Up Up is a scrapbook of interviews, writing and appropriated images curated to make a point about Joburg urbanism.