Newsletter | Stellenbosch Heritage

Newsletter, Fourth Quarter 2012

Extensions planned by Stellenbosch University

The current phase of extensions planned by the University comprises new residences and extensions to existing residences on the property bordered by Victoria Street, Marais Street and Merriman Avenue.

Following a heritage impact assessment compiled by Dr. Elzet Albertyn and Lize Malan, heritage-based urban and architectural guidelines were drawn up by specialist consultants Mike Scurr, Peter Büttgens and Claire Abrahamse, resulting in a detailed framework for the development of this section of the campus.

We highly commend the effort of the University to have the framework drawn up; it indicates a commitment by the University towards sensitive urban design.   We believe this framework should be extended to the rest of the campus, to serve as guidelines for future development on campus.

The extensions planned by the University are of importance to the town. In addition, the guidelines presented by the experts Scurr, Büttgens and Abrahamse are stimulating and exciting: they bring life into dead areas, amongst others by means of a new “green” square and interesting transitions between town and university spaces. Click here to view the plans.

Comments on new zoning proposals

A proposal for new zonings in Stellenbosch has been tabled for comment. A new zoning scheme is desirable due to the considerable expansion of the municipal area, amongst others with the inclusion of Franschhoek and rural areas. Amongst other things, the draft document makes provision for usage (and thereby rights) not previously permissible in Stellenbosch. The Foundation is engaged in analysing the implications of the proposed draft, to submit comments before 5 October 2012. You may read this on the website. For now, you may view the proposals on www.stellenbosch.gov.za.

“Prag” and “praal” and the Cape Manor House

The theme for the 2012 Heritage South Africa Symposium is the development of the 18th century Cape Manor House and the factors that contributed to the wealth of the settlers of the Cape – to the extent that governor Rijk Tulbagh felt compelled to issue the “prag” and “praal” laws to curb the show of opulence. See the full program for the conference on 4 October in Paarl on the website.

The ideal Stellenbosch street

Monocle magazine devotes a fair amount of time and money to research for compiling a list of those cities in the world where quality of life can be enjoyed at its best. In Volume 55, the ideal street is discussed. This, briefly, depends on the presence of three characteristics (proportions, patina, and people) but their image of the ideal street – Monocle Strasse – focuses on thirteen elements that, according to them, are essential. Is there such a street in Stellenbosch? And what would you see as necessary to realise such a street? Read more about this on the website and share your thoughts on the forum.

A proposal for the management of the Stellenbosch heritage

Belgian students Virgini Ryckeboer and Cyril Carton investigated heritage policy and the application thereof in Stellenbosch for their Master’s thesis on the care of monuments and landscapes. They focused on the Braak and the Rhenish complex as a point of reference for their project, which was undertaken with the support of the Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation and the Municipality.

Their findings were that the Braak and the Rhenish complex are completely underutilized; the Braak has, in fact, become a traffic circle. If such spaces and buildings are not utilised well, they are lost (“use it or lose it”). They recommend that the situation regarding transport in the town (including public transport and parking) be addressed urgently. Click here to read a short summary and the thesis.

Promises of trees

At the celebration of the two oldest Stellenbosch oak trees in Ryneveld Street, the Mayor, Councillor Conrad Sidego, announced a resolve to plant a million trees in Stellenbosch during his tenure. On the same occasion, the deputy mayor, Councillor Martin Smuts, confirmed his own resolve to ensure that visits to the town centre would be safe, accessible and convenient social occasions with more activities and public art in the public spaces. Find more information on this, on the history of trees in Stellenbosch and on ideas for greening the town on the website.

Good work

Buildings in the centre of town that have recently been renovated or  thoroughly smartened up are De Oude Werf, in Church Street; H. Spiro, on the corner of Dorp and Bird; and Devonshire House on the corner of Church and Ryneveld Streets.

Johann Slee at the Architectural Biennale in Venice

Johann Slee, a Stellenbosch architect (and a member of the Foundation’s management committee), has returned from having participated in the Venice architectural biennale. His installation of 300 ostrich eggs had been inspired by the saying ‘walking on eggs’. Slee says that life – our existence on earth – is like an (ostrich) egg: incredibly strong but, at the same time, extremely sensitive. The biennale, with Common Ground as the theme, continues until 25 November. Read more on the website.

Gables and Defects

Photographer Erhardt Thiel has been living and working among the Stellenbosch gables for a considerable time – and has always enjoyed it. Recently, however, his camera has been focused on something that is becoming increasingly evident: defects in the urban environment. By a slight adjustment of his focus, he reveals how the lovely and the unlovely have begun to live side by side – and how immune we have become to this! Visit the exhibition on the website.

My point of view: Photo competition

In an effort to stimulate an appreciation for heritage, especially young people, the Foundation presented a hugely successful heritage month photo competition. The project was supported in the Eikestadnuus and on RSG, as well as on 52 different social pages, among them those of the different student residences, the student council and the Stellenbosch schools. View the winning photo`s on the website or visit us on Facebook.

Framework for sustainable development

Dennis Moss compiled an extensive framework for sustainable development in the greater Stellenbosch. He believes we have unique opportunities to execute sustainable policies in a manner that will be internationally noteworthy and good for the country, the Western Cape and the people of Stellenbosch. Read his report on the website.

La Motte talks

The last two talks in this year’s series are focused on painting, printing and ceramics. Journalist Amanda Botha discusses the life and work of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef on 11 October. Botha is doing research for a book on this iconic artist.

Ella-Lou O’Meara, a ceramicist by profession, discusses her art form and how is has been influenced by the printer’s art on 8 November. This forms part of the Franschhoek Art-in-Clay festival. Click here for the program.

International awards, interesting images to view

  • The finalists for the most prestigious British architectural award, the Stirling Prize, will know who is richer by £20 000 on 13 October. On the shortlist is David Chipperfield (David Chipperfield Architects for The Hepworth, Wakefield), Ellen van Loon (OMA for Maggie’s Centre, Glasgow and New Court, London), Alan Stanton and Paul Williams (Stanton Williams for the Sainsbury Laboratory, Cambridge), John Tuomey (O’Donnell + Tuomey for the Lyric Theatre, Belfast) and Philip Johnson (Populous, for the Olympic stadium in London). Last year’s winner was Zaha Hadid for the Evelyn Grace Academy in London. Photographs and descriptions of these buildings at   http://ribastirlingprize.architecture.com.
  • Rem Koolhaas receives the Jencks prize for 2012. It is awarded to an architect who in practice and academically has made a significant contribution to architecture: http://www.architecture.com
  • The world renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor has been named as the recipient of one of the world’s most prestigious architecture prizes, the Royal Gold Medal.  “Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty the Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture”.  http://www.architecture.com/NewsAndPress/News/AwardsNews/News/2012/PeterZumthorawarded2013RoyalGoldMedalforarchitecture.aspx
  • May 2012: Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate : Wang Shu http://www.pritzkerprize.com/2012/announcement

Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation Committee Members: Raymond Bouma, Deon Carstens, Anel de Beer, Hugo Lötter, Willem Malherbe, Jolanda Morkel, Johann Slee, Corlie Smart, Chris Stander, Hannes van Zyl