Heritage Forum

Private Residence


Minserie Street, Stellenbosch

Date Built





Visser Kapperer de Bruin

The site is at the end of a short cul-de-sac in the historical core of Stellenbosch and shares a boundary with Carl Otto Hager’s noteworthy Moederkerk. Although the street falls within the historical core, the residential buildings which fringe it display a variety of scales, masses and styles.

The building replaces a 1920’s “Neo-Cape Dutch” cottage whose architectural identity had in the interim been diluted by indiscriminate additions, and is abutted by another whose alterations have given it a strong contemporary character. Its neighbour to the south is a recent double-storey home for the elderly.

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 re-instating of a timber-screened front garden brings the street-front back into dialogue with its neighbours. Vehicles are taken off the street into underground parking accessed via a ramp along the southern boundary. Various services and support functions are housed inconspicuously at this basement level.

Living and guest facilities are accommodated on the ground floor and flow out to outdoor living areas with a plunge-pool on the north and west where they overlook the Moederkerk and its churchyard. A second storey houses bedrooms and a private study, the views and privacy of which are modulated by the translucent timber screens. The main bedroom and study again have the benefit of the western view of the churchyard and the roofscape of Stellenbosch’s historical village beyond.