Monthly Archives: May 2017

reunion island tourism facilities

Reunion Island Tourism Facilities
PlanEco and CC Architects

reunion island eden resort

Reunion Island Eden Resort

The team 

This team consists of a unique combination of skills, all from the south of the globe that have developed very specific environmental and landscape awareness and skills to deal with developments that depend on nature as a core part of the product: ap architectures- Reunion based specialists on tropical Architecture and sustainable landscapes and slope management with a highly admired body of work in Reunion’s very specific climate and landscape.

C&C (PlanEco) - architecture without boundaries – South African based specialists in ecotourism and nature based developments in most of Southern Africa’s nature reserves as well as Culture and Nature based advisory services to international tourism destinations.

Their combined proven experience in these tourism-critical aspects has led to specific site based response to the brief. Their hands-on experience in engaging directly with the context, both environmental and cultural as well as the target market has led to the proposed concepts as a first response to the design challenge posed.

The project posed some extreme challenges with a specific list of requirements and high density on a steep “unfriendly” site away from the sea. At the same time the clearly expressed dream and wish of the client to be first whilst being responsible and sustainable, clearly resonated with this teams’ members, who all love working in nature.

Unique experience

This proposal exploits the location to its maximum providing an elevated, unimpeded view to the wide expanse of the ocean with more intimate and detailed glimpses of the village life internally. This will be greatly enhanced with dense re-forestation with the indigenous dry forest vegetation thus returning the slopes to the lush green cirques and ravines Reunion is world famous for.

To achieve this a different approach to vehicular access and zoning was taken:

  • Safe and secure access directly into the existing village and to the new main boulevard of St Giles.
  • Cars and main access is hidden from sight under a projecting water boulevard – built as a long “infinity” pool dropping into the ocean.
  • Vehicles will be hidden from view (and in the shade below)
  • We propose to remove the dangerous curved road in the south by elevating it over the link to the eco-park and expansion to the south of the road. This will also have the advantage of access to the two hills to the south, which will form a unique and dramatic view point destination overlooking the botanical gardens and eco-park to its north – ideal for sundowners and an outdoor night time entertainment zone.
  • The accommodation will appear settled in the forest landscape and will be surrounded with greenery.
  • Variety and cultural diversity is brought in through the different but related modern interpretations of tropical Island veranda houses, all linked via a new access “river boulevard” floating above the new access road 
  • Diverse but sustainable and characteristic materials will be used throughout; wood, stone, cooling, textured surfaces and open decks with shaded pergolas and outdoor patios to ensure a tropical lifestyle is available to the guests. 
  • Even the way tourists travel across the site needs to be diverse, via water channels on tubes, zip-lines and funicular as well as shaded pathways for pedestrians , cyclists and alternative electronic transport like skateboards and Sedgeway two-wheelers.

The project’s wow depends on integration of natural beauty with architectural expertise, the dramatic way you arrive at the resort - from below in a shaded driveway, thus saving the stunning views for their arrival at the centre-ville without any impediment of the ocean view over the infinity edge. Lastly the proposal of the indigenous landscape married to modern climate-responsive tropical structures will complete the dream of promoting a sense of well-being, détente and relaxation combined with healthy activity, both for Reunionnais and foreign visitors

PlanEco and CC Architects

vlakhoek wildlife estate

Vlakhoek Wildlife Estate
PlanEco and CC Architects

vlakhoek wildlife estate

Vlakhoek Wildlife Estate

The brief was to prepare an architectural language for a unique wildlife estate in the Rustenburg area. The site slopes towards the south, so all buildings and roofs are designed to be as un-intrusive as possible. A cut and fill approach was used, with a combination of sloped roofs and green roofs, allowing the landscape to engulf the structures and soften the visual impact.

PlanEco and CC Architects

kgalagadi NP border post

Kgalagadi NP Border Post
PlanEco and CC Architects

kgalagadi transfrontier park border post

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Border Post

The site is located on the border between South Africa and Botswana, at the entrance of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park at Twee Rivieren. The concept is based on the organic ‘muurshoop’ or anthill, both in form and planning, with a main central ‘chamber’ surrounded by an arrangement of rooms in a circular sequence, similar to the structure of the said anthill.

Large timber shading screens regulate the solar penetration and heat gain. Dry stacked rock cladding on the lower sections of the walls further insulate and protect the walls from the relentless sun.

PlanEco and CC Architects

etosha national park tourism

Etosha National Park Tourismi
PlanEco and CC Architects

etosha national park, namibia

Etosha National Park

We designed various tourism facilities as well as staff accommodation and infrastructure in Etosha National Park, funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

The project included buildings and structures at Ombika, Galton Gate, Olifantsrus and Okaukuejo, ranging from entrance gates, workshops, interpretation centres and game viewing hides to staff houses, support facilities and fuel stations.

PlanEco and CC Architects

huis wessels, likweti wildlife estate

Huis Wessels Likweti Wildlife Estate
PlanEco and CC Architects

huis wessels, likweti wildlife estate

House Wessels, Likweti Wildlife Estate

he site is located in Likweti Bushveld Estate close to White river in Mpumalanga. The estate has beautiful 1ha bushveld stands high up on the hill with beautiful views over the Lowveld landscape. The client and his wife bought the stand because of its natural beauty; the existing trees, shrubs and grasses, but also of course, for the view. The site is east facing, with a very steep slope.

The brief was to design a small home for a retiring couple, with a sleeping realm and living realm. The sleeping realm was to include a studio, study and separate dressing rooms. The living realm had to contain the lounge, dining, kitchen and patio. Two guest bedrooms had to be incorporated as well as a large double garage that can be used as a workshop. The site was to be preserved as much as possible.

As a solution, we let the site dictate the layout. We placed the program along the contours and separated the 2 main zones from each other to allow for as much northern light as possible. We used a cut and fill approach to minimise western exposure, and incorporated very large overhangs on the eastern side, to allow for lots of glass and views on the east. A large outside living room connects the two realms and celebrates the genius loci of the site. The guest bedrooms are perched on higher contours, and the garage and workshop serves as a first point of arrival. From this area, you descend into the house and once you enter the threshold through the front door you are welcomed by an enormous and fantastic view of the landscape beyond.

PlanEco and CC Architects

parque naçional de gorongosa

Parque Nacional de Gorongoza
PlanEco and CC Architects

gorongosa biodiversity research centre

Gorongosa Biodiversity Centre

Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique is co-managed by ANAC (the Mozambique National Park Authority) and the Carr Foundation from America. Greg Carr signed a 10-year agreement (recently extended by another 10 years) to fund priority aspects of the Park’s management, focussed on conservation and community issues. One of his visions was the creation of a world-class facility in which scientists and researchers from all over the world can work, thereby growing awareness of the Park’s biodiversity – said to be among the highest in the world.

This led to the appointment of C&CA who provided a masterplan for the development of Chitengo Camp (the hub of Gorongosa) and the E O Wilson Biodiversity Research Centre. The first phase of this facility was completed in … and officially opened by Dr E O Wilson – the man who coined the term “biodiversity”. The buildings incorporate an unique passive design principle, whereby hot air in buildings are drawn upwards and out of roofs aided by a solar stack which forms an integral part of the roof design. Colder air underneath the buildings (which are lifted off the ground and built with a lightweight LSF system) are drawn into the buildings through openings in the floor. This unique ventilation system is found in nature also, in termite mounds, ensuring habitable conditions inside the nests. 

An interview with architect Niel Crafford can be found here: 

PlanEco and CC Architects

TUT architecture department

TUT Architecture Department Auditorium
PlanEco and CC Architects

TUT architecture department

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) New Architecture Wing

The brief was to design a new wing for the architecture department at TUT. The end user wanted studio space, office space and an auditorium to seat 120 students. The building had to be as energy efficient as possible, without using any mechanical ventilation.

The building consists of 2 wings with a central core, essentially creating 2 courtyards, one on the west, and one on the east. The two wings are north-south orientated, with large areas of glazing on the northern facades, to maximise natural light as well as solar penetration in winter. During the summer months these are protected by means of horizontal louvers. All the windows on the southern side are double glazed to prevent heat loss in winter as well as to buffer the sound of the road running past the site directly to the south.

The two wings are long and thin, with a maximum width of 8m to maximise cross ventilation. The air on the southern side of the building will be cooled with mist sprayers, using rain water harvested from the roof, effectively creating an evaporative cooling system.

Photo-voltaic cells on the roof generate 7 Kw of power, which keep backup batteries charged for use during power failures. In normal circumstances this power has a dedicated circuit, which runs a few strategic lights and sockets.

Solar water collectors on the roof heat water for the heating system, which is essentially a re-invented radiator system. Water from the collectors are circulated through a series of surface mounted water pipes which in turn heat the space.

All the lights are managed and controlled by a KNX system, which works on an infrared movement detection system. When the system picks up movement, it activates the lights, as well as the intensity. This means lights are never on where they don’t have to be.

The whole approach to ‘green buildings’ and sustainable design has become a platform for gimmicks and expensive technologies that are not always necessary. The client wanted a straight forward building, using age old design techniques rather than fancy new age equipment, with minimum maintenance, but maximum adaptability – the building itself is didactic, it is a lab, an experiment that has only just begun

PlanEco and CC Architects

desert quiver camp, sossusvlei

Desert Quiver camp Sossuvlei
PlanEco and CC Architects

desert quiver camp, sossusvlei

Desert Quiver Camp

Sossusvlei and the surrounding Namib desert is one of the most-photographed nat-ural landscapes in the world. Visitors from all over the world marvel at the 300m high dunes resting on the Tschauchab gravel plains and the beauty of the Vlei and Dead Vlei close by.

The owner of the Sossusvlei Lodge and Desert Camp, Taleni Africa, decided to add more beds at this popular destination, 400 kms south of Windhoek. The product is still aimed at the self-catering market but pitched at a higher level, offering glass win-dows and doors and more luxurious bathrooms. Arranged in two wings both sides of the public areas (reception, group kitchen and lapa facilities, bar and pool) all units face due north and overlook the Namib desert. 100mm thick “sandwich panels” (sheet metal on polystyrene cores) provide high insulation properties and a clean roof design, slung underneath long timber poles clad with laths to provide shade and texture. East and west facing walls are shielded against solar heat gain by means of sand and rock cladding.

Currently, all three lodges run at 85% occupancies.

PlanEco and CC Architects