The Cape Institute of Architects recently made awards to two new developments in the town. The Institute’s merit awards are announced every second year.
This year the awards go to a new home by Johann Slee, and changes by Revel Fox and associates to the Oude Werf hotel. Two years ago there were two winners from Stellenbosch as well: changes to 101 Dorp Street by Johann Slee; and changes to the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust school and the AmaZink community centre in Kyamandi, by Jan Klinger.
Architect Johan Slee’s Zinc House is described as well considered and well made. Four zinc structures have been linked together by means of stone walls like those of a kraal, with many smart solutions flowing from this:
*optimal utilisation of the northerly orientation;
*celebration of the mountain views;
*protection from the Cape wind.
The manner in which the architect worked over the key elements – zinc structures and stone walls – impressed the panel of judges: views are brought into the interior by small adjustments and this house becomes the landscape within which it is nestled.
Alternative methods for energy have been used and built into places in the walls and roofs. Solar panels heat the water for domestic use, as well as the pool in winter.
An old tennis court was transformed into a ‘farm’ – a vegetable garden. The whole development is situated in a natural fynbos landscape that is seamlessly linked with the adjacent nature reserve.
This hotel, situated between Church and Plein Street in the town centre, is part of the Stellenbosch experience of many tourists. Also for residents. The very unique character of Church Street contributes to an experience of Stellenbosch that can be sold again to thousands of tourists. Revel Fox and Partners have therefore focused on the character of the Cape Dutch town house and the Victorian house and connected the two by means of a contemporary unit without drawing unnecessary attention to it.
The weight of the building is cleverly disguised when a portal on the ground floor becomes an alcove on the first floor and a balcony on the second floor. This stepping back also forces the weight away from the shared space. The Mansard type roof covering the second floor reduces the scale, with the floor and roof becoming one.
The distinction between old and new is emphasised further by the building materials: the old is heavy and weight bearing while the new is light. Think in terms of a solid, oversized yellowwood door in a glass wall.
Use is also made of courtyards – an outside dining area and a garden is surrounded by rooms to organise the spaces and communicate the hierarchy between public and private.