The house lies on a gentle slope of the valley between the massive peaks of Groot Drakenstein and Simonsberg in the Western Cape. Like a little temple, the house relates to a line between the two sets of peaks, locking it forever into their power. At the same time, by establishing the line, the house establishes itself as a central place in this huge landscape, giving itself a potency far in excess of its size. The general organization of the building hangs onto the line of connection, the house itself, its entrance, a cut cylinder tank fed by a great spout, a ‘tongue’ of tended grass that stretches out from the building, a long pool and broad, werf-like wall.
The brief called for a new office building in the heart the historical core of Stellenbosch. The site is situated off Dorpstreet, directly behind the gracious La Gratitude homestead, a National Monument, built in 1798, being the most imposing single-storey dwelling in the entire street. The office building constitutes phase two of a three phase redevelopment of this historical site of 9400m². Phase one, the conversion of the 1800 homestead to restaurant, was completed end of 2008.
“Each generation has a choice either to leave a footprint of conservation or a trail of devastation to future generations. Following in the footsteps of our predecessors, we choose to live in harmony with nature – a lifestyle conceptualized in our newly refurbished head offices, Millennia Park.”
Mr Thys Visser (Late CEO of Remgro)
This existing family residence situated in the centre of Stellenbosch required the addition of a new guest wing & studio space. The site was already predetermined based on the current layout of the existing house but with a 100year old wild olive tree falling in between the site and the existing houses. This posed a slight complication of how to resolve the linking of the 2 spaces and became a positive restriction as it resulted is the new addition becoming a garden pavilion which meant that its design would minimally interfere with the aesthetics of the current house design done in the late 1950’s by the well known Pius Pahl.
The building design is simple, reflecting the traditional white walled architecture but producing a modern building in sympathy to the existing 1900 historical building. 3D studies showed that a conventional double storey building was not appropriate next to the garden and the historic building.
This late 1950’s home, previously known as Huis Paauw, is situated in one of Stellenbosch’s established suburbs and forms part of the residential collection of works designed by the late German architect Pius Pahl.
Knowing the history of the house the project teams design approach was to retain and refurbish the original house and look carefully at how the new brief could be sensitively added.
The design includes a number of “green” elements, such as water recycling, storage tanks and passive water heating systems, but this has been incorporated into the design without compromising architectural aesthetics.
Another concept of the plan was to arrange and express the elements of the building, namely the boundary wall, garden strip, building outer shell, the inner shell, passage, courtyard, pool and garden, as layers. This layering of spaces and elements allows for an interesting spatial experience as one circulates through the building.
From the outset, the design does not attempt to mimic its context, but to be sympathetic to it in form and material, scale and density. A clean white geometric volume of “wall-architecture” modulated by sun-filtering timber screens, receives the sunlight and oak-shadows in a manner reminiscent of local traditional limewashed buildings.
The design of the 101 Dorp Gallery and the studio was mainly driven by the need to conserve the historical significance of the Site. The building does this by assuming a modest position in the historical Dorp Street scape.
The new double story façade is half hidden behind an ancient oak tree and its timeless aesthetics allows it to blend with the historical buildings on either side and across the road.
The aim of the project was to design a Trust Centre that would accommodate various uses and needs of the community that might arise in the future, and make the best possible use of the available land.
The design process involved demolishing certain old components of the building and structuring the design into a more clearly organised spatial whole. Separate buildings, such as a day-care centre, an after-care centre, a multi-functional hall, an administrative and adult education block, a restaurant and amphitheatre are linked through outdoor spaces, courtyards and walkways giving it the feel of a small village.