When you think of South African architecture, what do you see? Thanks to our multi-cultural history, the image or images that come to mind will differ greatly from one person to the next. In modern society, with its international influences and nuances, this picture will become even more diverse.
In my opinion, that which makes architecture successful within the South African context has little to do with style, trends, or which century a building dates from, and everything to do with South Africa itself. Buildings that pay homage to our landscapes, our climate, and our people have all the makings of timeless South African architecture.
Paying homage to the South African landscape
The Bosjes Chapel on the Bosjes Farm in the Western Cape is a great example of this. Designed by Steyn Studio, this majestic chapel beautifully mirrors the Slanghoek and Waaihoek Mountain ranges in its background while 360-degree glass windows allow you to appreciate the stunning landscapes all around.
It is no secret that to us at Veld Architects it is all about the landscape (nature). Before we fall in love with our clients and all they are about, we visit the site and embark on a journey of appreciation for it. We draw inspiration from the landscape and from our clients, and we marry this story in a timeless, highly functional, and sustainable design.
Appreciating the South African climate
Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway Pods designed by ModH Design simply echoes outdoor living. Nestled on the Breede Valley and overlooking mountain and vineyard views, this guest accommodation brings tourists closer to nature and encourages being outside and enjoying SA’s wonderful climate.
In South Africa, outside living is natural to us. It is in our veins because our climate allows for it. That’s why our homes and buildings can and should open up to the outdoors to let light, air, and nature in. At Veld Architects, we are continuously pushing the envelope to blur the lines between the outside and inside.
Celebrating the innovation of South African craftsmanship
It is so exciting when South African building designs bring together innovative craftsmanship and natural South African materials.
To us, Malan Vorster’s Treehouse celebrates this in buckets. Situated in a tree-rich location in Cape Town, this house takes inspiration from its surroundings and boasts cylindrical towers on stilts with large windows to allow the beauty of the landscape in. All-around red cedar wrapped exteriors and the use of untreated materials ensure that this house will weather naturally over time.
New research and technology make it possible for homes to move away from the status quo and instead bring innovation to the table. Rammed earth walls, for example, is a unique and incredibly beautiful way we at Veld Architects incorporate innovation and sustainability into a project. We adore using natural materials in the exterior and interiors of the homes we design in ways that trigger nostalgia.
Loving our South African artists
Which better building to commemorate the collaboration of artists than The Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa)? The repurposed grain silo in the V&A Waterfront Silo District combines the genius architectural talents of Heatherwick Studios in its exteriors with the interior spaces boasting contemporary art from all over Africa. The two together simply tell an unforgettable story.
Collabs are definitely a must for us. We believe residential properties should hero South African artistry. We are humbled by the artists and designers who ‘create’ with us. Together we inspire, and together we grow.