- Design Team: Antony Abate, Rishaad Vally, Johann Strauss, Yaseen Noon
- Clients: Ben Schoeman & Fred Durow
- Stuctural Engineers: Gustav Kroeger Consulting Engineers, A19 Consulting Engineers
- Consultants: D&S Planning Studio, LRJ Steel
- City: Cape Town
- Country: South Africa
Text description provided by the architects. This is the story of Fred, Ben, D&S Planning Studio, an average Victorian and a long, sloping site with development potential located on the corner of Upper Buitengragt and Carisbrook streets. The 653 sqm plot offered the owners a unique opportunity to combine their brief requirements of living, working & rental income within the confines of a singular site.The property has undergone an extended grid overlay, a virtual carving up, a primary division running centrally north to south, along the length of the plot, but further split into eight distinct zones: Victorian house, two storey shed addition, vehicular court and studio unit allocations repeated to both halves.
The two existing mature feature trees flanking the vehicle court have been retained as the green connector canopies of the three distinct building blocks forming the Carisbrook St façade. The stone and steel palisade walls enclosing the Buitengragt and Carisbrook boundaries are of heritage value and have been retained as necessary elements to preserving the authenticity link to street and permitting an openness and life to these edges. The existing Victorian is an ungraded building with many of the original features ignored and altered by the previous unsympathetic owner. The enclosed portion of the existing stope has been removed and restored to colonnaded verandah with a view to re-instating the original street corner aspect. The central passageway forms the internal marker for re-planning the home into a back to back U-shape double dwelling around smaller external courts.
The single gable fronting to street has been extruded across the width of the site and extended spatially to function as the main living spaces to both of units. Supplementary living and en-suite bedrooms form the remainder of the ground floor accommodation. The existing lean-to’s, added over time to the north of the Victorian box, have been demolished to make way for a new two storey shed housing additional living spaces and the client’s communal work-office space. The natural slope of the site assists with de-scaling the shed to a single level overlooking the entrance and vehicle court shared by the office and the two level steel frame studio pods hugging the far northern boundary of the site. The studios themselves combine as a singular shed extrusion but separate in vertical stacks.
Internal space is compact, yet maximised by way of carefully placed double volume pockets affording penetration of light to the earth retained lower level and steeply inclined pitched roof planes allow for ‘room in the roof’ sleeping platforms. Programmatically, the two studio units were completed in the first phase of the project, permitting the owners to vacate the existing house whilst still actively living and working on site during phase two. Materials largely echo those of the original house, corrugated sheet metal and red brick are the dominant throughout and are responsive to and connect with the material palette of Victorian without copying or creating a pastiche of the past.
The typology is that of simple linear shed like forms repeated to frame and contain the open external spaces which in turn serve to separate and define simple, yet distinct building blocks. Working directly with two varied thinking clients on a singularly unifying concept means a considered response to people’s individual preferences, brief and place. The architecture, we believe is one of enthusiasm, conceptually rich and playful, whilst hopefully still addressing the issues of heritage, community, liveability and connection.