There are some buildings in Johannesburg that have seen better days, buildings that have been neglected and forgotten. These buildings were once grand and were admired as some of the best attractions in the city, but have become Johannesburg’s forgotten landmarks.
J. G. Strijdom Tower
It was in 1968 that an architect by the name of Jan Heineken started work on a building that was to be one of Africa’s highest buildings. The building erected in Hillbrow, was called the “J. G. Strijdom Tower” and would consist of 90 stories, and reach a height of 270 meters. On the top story a revolving restaurant was built which could seat 108 diners, and gave a 360ᵒ grand view of the City. In the construction of this building no costs were spared and so all furnishings were world class and geared for luxury and comfort. This Tower did not take long to become one of the most admired and sought after attractions for all visitors to the City. However it only lasted for 10 years and, for security reasons, was suddenly closed to the public and has never opened again. Now less than 30 years later this Tower is now known as the “Telkom Tower” or “Hillbrow Tower”. It appears that it has lost its original purpose forever and serves only as a business entity.
The Three Castles Building
This building with its castle like structure and its three turrets was built in 1894 by the cigarette company “Three Castles”. The building was later closed down but reopened again by President Paul Kruger in the 19th century. It was used mainly for manufacturing purposes and also served as a dance club named “The Dungeon”. Yet today the building is badly vandalised and remains boarded up covered in graffiti, barbed wire and rubbish.
The Johannesburg Sun Hotel
In the 80s the hotel magnet Sol Kurzner built a luxury five star hotel in the centre of Johannesburg. This building was intended to be the flag ship of the Sun International Group. This unfortunately never took place as the transformation of the Johannesburg City Centre began to change. This meant that fewer visitors and tourists came to stay at the hotel. After a long battle the Sun International Group closed the hotel down, which cost them millions of rands. The Group then cleared the building and tried to transform it into a “Holiday Inn Express”. This venture also proved to be a failure and the hotel closed down a second time. Then in 2002 the Group again opened the hotel as “The KwaDukuza Egoli Hotel”, however not long after they again closed the hotel. Today this prestigious building is boarded up, empty and desolate.