House Farnsworth

19 August 2020

Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House is one of the most studied buildings from the 20th century and is a wonderful example of Van der Rohe’s style and philosophy. This house in Illinois, USA, was recently restored and opened after lockdown with an exhibition on the talented, original owner of the house, Edith Farnsworth, who also commissioned the house.

Another prestige architecture award for South Africa

19 August 2020

South Africa was recently in the lime light when architect Jaco Booyens, based in Robertson, together with SAOTA, a leading firm of architects based in Cape Town, received gold for the prestigious 2020 Domus Restoration and Conservation Award, or International Prize For Architectural Restoration, that is hosted by the Italian company Fassa S.r.l. and the University of Ferrara.

Serpentine Pavilion 2020 postponed

19 August 2020

South African architects’ design of the Serpentine Pavilion 2020 was postponed until next year. The Serpentine Gallery explained that the Covid-19 crisis has changed the nature of the context in which the Pavilion will be used by the public.

Winners of Post-Pandemic Design competition

19 August 2020

The winners of Rethink: 2025, an international design competition that is hosted by the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA), were recently announced. According to the RIBA Journal, this competition was “unexpected and unprecedented … launched in the middle of the global coronavirus lockdown”. The objective was for entrants to generate ideas and imagine what everyday life in cities and towns could be like by 2025.

The Adam Tas Corridor project in the context of current societal challenges

19 August 2020

The Adam Tas Corridor project is a prime project in the spatial and development framework and other policy documents of Stellenbosch Municipality. Furthermore, the project represents collaboration between the three levels of government and has the support of Stellenbosch University, Stias, business and community leaders. Stephen Boshoff delivered an electronic lecture during lockdown to Stias […]

The Flèche of Notre Dame, Paris

19 August 2020

Marilyn Martin, an honorary associate of the Michaelis Art School gives her informed opinion on the French government’s plans to restore the spire or flèche of the Notre Dame. Her insight also scaffolds the way in which we can think about heritage in general.

In extraordinary times

18 March 2020

We live in an extraordinary time and must focus on our environment and fellow human beings. But even in extraordinary times, ordinary life goes on. You can read the small news items that follow within the context of these new and continuously changing circumstances. The everyday, extraordinary and locally distinct is woven together. You would […]

Blue and bronze reminders

16 March 2020

Paul Roos Gymnasium received a blue plaque when they recently celebrated the school’s 154th birthday. A blue plaque reminds the passer-by that something noteworthy and historically significant happened at that specific spot.  In the case of Paul Roos the blue plaque is a reminder that the school led to the founding of Stellenbosch University. Read […]

In memory of Elaine Aucamp – Stellenbosch Interest Group founding member

16 March 2020

Elaine Aucamp, a well-known, colourful figure in Stellenbosch, passed away in January this year. She was actively involved and committed to the preservation of Stellenbosch’s cultural heritage. As a founding member of the Stellenbosch Interest Group, she also served on the committee from 1995 to 2019. With her enthusiastic love for architecture, gardens and landscapes […]

Green heritage destroyed by strong winds

16 March 2020

Stellenbosch lost her oldest two oak trees in the storm that hit the town on the 18th of January 2020. One oak was uprooted and blown over, while the Emergency Team of the Municipality cut off the top halve of the other oak, which stood further down Ryneveld street. Read more about the trees in […]

The most liveable cities

16 March 2020

With 99,1% Vienna is, according to the annual index of the Economist, the world’s most liveable city for 2019 – the second year running. Vienna is known for it’s lavish architecture, art and coffee shops. However, the index also takes factors such as stability (personal safety), healthcare, education, user-friendly infrastructure, expressions of culture and environmental […]

Recognition for South African female architects

16 March 2020

Three female architects from Johannesburg were honoured when their firm, Counterspace, was invited by the Serpentine Gallery in London to design the 2020 Serpentine pavilion. The three women, Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers and Amina Kaskar, are the first South Africans to receive this honour. What makes this nomination even more special, is the fact […]

Irish women architects receive prestigious Pritzker Prize

16 March 2020

Two female Irish architects, Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara, received the 2020 Pritzker Prize, which is Architecture’s highest international honour. Farrell and McNamara are the only members of Grafton Architects in Dublin. Both women also have a keen interest in education and lecture at various universities, which include Harvard and Yale.  According to the Pritzker […]

Useful answers to heritage related questions

16 March 2020

The Heritage Association of South Africa (HASA) recently updated their website on which they explain that the Heritage Association of South Africa is the voice of conservation bodies from around the country that are dedicated to conserving the national estate. The Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation is now also an associate. Useful information is included in the […]


16 March 2020

Accessibility and mobility in towns and cities are international issues and increasingly so becoming burning issues to solve for town planners as more and more people flock from rural areas to larger towns and cities. Accessibility and mobility can never be solved in isolation and are directly linked to social inclusion. It should be tackled […]

Adam Small festival in Pniël is highly recommended

16 March 2020

Trevor Manual provides the audience with a wake-up call The recent (21 – 23 Februarie) Adam Small festival in Pniël impressed audiences with a unique and varied programme, which was compiled by Darryl Earl Davids and presented by the Pniël museum. Highlights included Dominique Botha reading from her new volume of poetry, the poetic focus […]

The benefits of improving a public space – such as die Braak

2 December 2019

Stellenbosch is a town and not a city, but it is worthwhile to take note of the wealth of newly published research and incentives that focus on improving urban areas. (A definition for the word city is somewhat elusive and, as Sudjic Deyan explains in his fascinating book The Language of Cities – it can describe almost any size […]

The sweetness of an intelligent design remains

25 November 2019

Benjamin Franklin presumably said that “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after we forget the sweetness of a low price”. This saying is turned upside down in the design of a family home which won the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) ‘s award for the best house of 2019. The Irish architects, McGonigle […]

Tracing the patterns of cultural heritage and ancestral homelands

25 November 2019

Two research publications traced the ancient patterns of cultural heritage and the location of ancestral homelands to Southern Africa and in doing so, focused international attention on Southern Africa. A team of researchers from the African Centre for Coastal Paleoscience at Nelson Mandela University found evidence of ancient human culture in patterns made on the dunes and […]


25 November 2019

Unstitching Rex Trueform: The Story of an African Factory A book that follows the story of a Cape Town building that housed a clothing manufacturer, Rex Trueform, received its second prestigious award. Unstitching Rex Trueform: The Story of an African Factory, by Ilze Wolff and published by L’Erma di Bretschneider, recently received a grant from the […]