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Fires and historical buildings: Notre-Dame and Bloemfontein City Hall

29 April 2019

The recent fire that consumed the roof and elements of the Notre-Dame cathedral reached the headlines of most international news sites. Although the nature of the damage to the interior of the cathedral is still uncertain, the building was not completely destroyed by the fire as Gothic buildings were designed to resist a fire from […]

The principles feeding into Stellenbosch Municipality’s Spatial Development Framework

29 April 2019

The previous newsletter referred to Stellenbosch Municipality’s draft Spatial Development Framework, which is open for public comment until May. The preamble to this framework explains that growth and development of settlements is inevitable and that certain principles or core beliefs should be at the basis of all development processes of new settlements to ensure responsible […]

A Boston suburb’s new law to protect bicycle lanes

29 April 2019

The city council of Cambridge, the university suburb of Boston, passed a new law on the 8th of April that mandates the addition of bicycle lanes on all streets due for upgrades. Although this process will happen slowly, Cambridge is now the most progressive cycling city in the United States.  According to the new law […]

Academic African focus on an African city

29 April 2019

Professor António Tomás’ book, In the skin of the city: Luanda or the dialectics of Spatial transformation, will soon be published by Duke University Press. According to Professor Tomás, who recently had a talk at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS), the book is “an ethnographic description of how Luanda has come about, how its […]

Stellenbosch Spatial Development Framework just launched

12 March 2019

In the past week, Stellenbosch Municipality has published a draft spatial development framework. There is now an opportunity for public comment before the framework is submitted to the Council for final approval in May. It is too early to comment in detail on the full content of the document. What is good though is that […]

What do we know about early Stellenbosch history?

12 March 2019

When and where did the human story begin?  A short essay by Dr Jannette Deacon for the Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation describes what we currently know about the archaeology and history of the Stone Age people who lived in the vicinity of Stellenbosch and nearby Winelands in the Western Cape before European colonisation. When and where […]

Arata Isozaki receives highest reward in architecture

12 March 2019

The Japanese architect, Arata Isosaki, has received this profession’s highest international reward, the 2019 Pritzker Architecture Price. The fact that he grew up close to the bombed city, Hiroshima, facilitated the young Isozaki’s ideas on how to rebuild cities and homes. For more than 60 years this prolific and influential 87-year old architect has designed […]

Fight won to prevent development of Maiden’s Cove heritage site

12 March 2019

A planned development at Maiden’s Cove, that included 54 bungalows, a boutique hotel with 100 rooms as well as retail and restaurant spaces, was stopped in court. Attorney Bill Gundelfinger contested the sale of the Maiden cove site to Vunani Capital. Judge President, Justice John Hlophe set aside the sale and development, which would have […]

Books to read during autumn

11 March 2019

Three recently published books can inspire readers during the lengthening autumn evenings. Constance: One Road to Take – The Life and Photography of Constance Stuart Larrabee (1914-2000) by Peter Elliot, published independently Walter Gropius: Visionary Founder of the Bauhaus by Fiona MacCarthy and published by Faber Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City by Richard […]

Who lived in the Stellenbosch Winelands before 1652

17 January 2019

This short essay describes what is currently known about the archaeology and history of the Stone Age people who lived in the vicinity of Stellenbosch and adjacent Winelands in the Western Cape before European colonisation. When and where did the human story begin? There is abundant archaeological evidence from stone tools, and a few human […]

Protected Area Management Plan for the Boland Mountain Complex

17 January 2019

Boland Mountain Complex – Part of the CAPE FLORAL REGION PROTECTED AREAS WORLD HERITAGE SITE. Western Cape, South Africa Protected Area Management Plan 2019 – 2029

Kelvin Campbell lecture in Stellenbosch

20 September 2018

Kelvin Campbell, an innovator and world leader in urban design, will be speaking in Stellenbosch about the challenges currently facing towns and cities all over the world, including South Africa, on 25 September. Campbell’s lecture is important for anyone who wants to share in thinking about how to make the place in which they live […]

How do we celebrate Heritage day?

20 September 2018

How do we celebrate heritage day? Here we have two examples: That of Albie Sachs at Maiden Cove and the e’Bosch programme in Stellenbosch.   Judge Albie Sachs’s plan to participate in a peaceful protest against planned developments at Maiden Cove on Heritage Day is a relevant way to celebrate Heritage Day, for the sake […]

Alejandro Aravena receives award at RIBA 2018

20 September 2018

Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena has been named the 2018 laureate of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Charles Jencks Award. The prize is given in recognition of an individual’s exceptional contributions to the field of architecture, both in built and in theoretical works. Aravena will receive the prize and present a lecture at RIBA’s London headquarters […]

World Architecture Festival shortlists Zeits Mocaa

20 September 2018

Zeitz MOCAA, the exciting and innovative Cape Town art gallery,  is shortlisted for an award at the World Architecture Festival. This prestige festival annually selects a World Building of the Year.   British architect Thomas Heatherwick restructured an old grain silo at the Cape Waterfront to house the Zeitz MOCAA. The gallery is aimed to […]

The Serpentine Pavilion

20 September 2018

The Mexican architect Frida Escobado has created a unique, distinctive pavilion using off-the-shelf materials for the Serpentine pavilion in London this year. This is where one of the world’s leading architects is given a chance to create a structure as one of the highlights for hundreds of thousands of visitors with an interest in design. […]

The Stellenbosch Heritage Inventory and Management Plan

7 June 2018

The Stellenbosch Heritage Inventory and Management plan is innovative and authoritative and a significant achievement for Stellenbosch. Heritage Western Cape endorsed it on 23 May 2018. The inventory is an overview inventory for Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and the district.  It was preceded by an earlier Heritage Inventory for the Stellenbosch town centre by the Stellenbosch Heritage […]

Fabio Todeschini, explorer of landscapes, 1940-2018

7 June 2018

Fabio Todeschini was a tireless explorer of landscapes. As lecturer and head of the University of Cape Town’s School of Architecture and Urban Design and as a consultant and activist, he encour-aged fellow workers, students and fellow human beings in general to take notice of the landscapes of cities, rural areas and wilderness to understand […]

R44: three years, and no sign yet of rapprochement or a conversation

7 June 2018

Opposition to provincial road engineers’ plans for the R44 between Somerset West and Stellenbosch increases. At the same time, there is no indication that engineers will adapt their key assumptions and approach. The latest development is that a consortium of businesses, organisations and individuals appealed against the provincial authorities’ latest approval of a further step […]

Road plan of ’57: Become Modern; demolish Dorp Street

7 June 2018

Each of the first three items in this newsletter resonates with an episode from Stellenbosch’s history that Fabio Todeschini would have recalled drily. As a prospective student in architecture and town planning in the 1950s, Fabio Todeschini had a glimpse of provincial road engineers’ plans for Dorp Street. He could then also follow the reaction […]