A Glimpse of Hope for Johannesburg’s Forgotten Ponte Tower

The Ponte Tower is a residential high-rise in , South Africa with a unique history and now a promising future. It was designed by architect in the 1970′s to be one of the most desirable places to live in the city, with an iconic, hollowed out interior, three-story apartments and rooftop jacuzzis. Over time, however, the building fell into disrepair and instead of serving as an icon of extreme wealth and prosperity, it became an icon of poverty and indifference. In still racially-divided South Africa, this was marked by the moving out of whites and the moving in of a primarily black population as property values plummeted. It has been associated with high levels of crime, a lack of sanitariness and even suicides, thanks to the building’s hollow core.

Recently, however, the derelict Ponte Tower has received more attention from investors and the architect himself, who doesn’t necessarily want to restore the building to its former glory but wishes to at least make it a decent place to live. The introduction of stringent security has encouraged more open-minded, middle-class citizens to move in, hoping for a profitable return as the Ponte Tower continues to grow in terms of value. Watch this featured video for more on the building’s comeback and what it will mean for its current and future residents.  

Cite: Porada, Barbara. "A Glimpse of Hope for Johannesburg’s Forgotten Ponte Tower" 24 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=349033>
  • Francois Malan

    This can be the greatest Architectural Compitition ever!

  • julia

    Fill in the core with dirt, all the way to the top!!! It is horrible, the stuff of nightmares.

  • Ian Forman

    I lived on the 22nd floor in 1975, it was a wonderful luxury building. Now look at it :(