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.
etosha national park, namibia
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.
huis 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.
gorongosa biodiversity research 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:
TUT architecture department
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
desert quiver camp, sossusvlei
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.