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Team Architects: Live, Work and Rent

How does one safely combine living space with workspace and a rental area? Today we’re sharing the story of Fred, Ben, D&S Planning Studio & Team Architects and how they turned an ageing Victorian home into a functional space.  

The 653 sqm plot features a long, sloping site with development potential. It is located on the corner of Upper Buitengracht and Carisbrook Streets, Cape Town. The plot offered the owners a unique opportunity to combine their requirements of a living space, working space plus rental income.

The property therefore underwent an extended grid overlay – a virtual carving up into 8 zones. There is thus, a primary division, running centrally north to south along the length of the plot with 4 elements repeated bilaterally.

The four areas:

  • the original Victorian home
  • a two-storey annex with work-office and additional living spaces.
  • a vehicle courtyard
  • studio unit rentals hugging the far northern boundary of the site

Two existing mature feature trees furthermore flank the vehicle court to create a green connector canopy between the elements.

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 home’s authentic Victorian heritage.

The simple linear forms in the new annex are repeated to frame and contain the open external spaces. Internal space is compact, yet maximised with double volume zones giving natural light. The traditional Victorian steeply pitched roof allows for upstairs sleeping platforms.

Preservation and authenticity

The stone and steel palisade walls enclosing the Buitengracht and Carisbrook boundaries are of heritage value and have been retained to preserving authenticity and to provide street appeal. The single gable fronting the street has been extended across the width of the site to function as the main living spaces for both units. Supplementary living and en-suite bedrooms form the remainder of the ground floor accommodation. The enclosed portion of the stoep has been restored to collonaded verandah with a view to re-instating the original street corner aspect.


What Is A Victorian Home?

A Victorian home is not a single style of architecture so much as it’s a representation of a specific era. Victorian houses emerged during Queen Victoria’s reign over Great Britain and the British colonies from 1837-1901. While they’re known for their colorful, ornate facades, there’s a broad range in architectural features present in each of the different types of houses that comprise the Victorian style.

Although Victorian houses were first built in England, the British Empire’s extensive reach at the time caused the architectural style to flourish abroad. As British architects traveled to the colonies to take advantage of business opportunities, they brought with them the Victorian style. The very first clay bricks in South Africa were fired in 1656. Since then this unrivalled building material has been used to beat our blistering heat, torrential rain, hail, frost and lightning storms.

Ornate trims

Victorian houses are known for the intricately carved woodwork that typically adorns windows, doorways and eaves. It’s this ornate trimming that gives these homes their gingerbread house look. Many Victorian houses used clay brick, which was industrially produced for consistency. The natural insulation properties of brick masonry provided warmth and insulation in winter. It also creates a cool interior under the African sun.

Part of the charm of a Victorian house comes from the decorative nature of its windows. A single home could possess a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. This includes stained glass, eyebrow, porthole, cameo, arched and multi-pane windows. Victorian houses often include a bay window that protrudes out of the home’s facade. Victorian houses in the old colonies are furthermore known for their wide porches. These often wrap around the side of the home.

Project Name: 250 Buitengracht
Project Description: Residential
Architect: Team Architects
Location: Tamboerskloof, Cape Town
Type of brick: Corobrik De Hoop red smooth

About Clay Brick

The Clay Brick Association of Southern Africa represents the clay brick and paver manufacturers of Southern Africa. The association inspires sustainable, contemporary brick architecture and building design in all areas of the built environment: commercial, residential and landscape. Furthermore they undertake research into the safe and sustainable production of clay bricks and pavers, and prepare and distribute property owner guides and builders technical manuals to educate South Africans on best practices in masonry construction techniques.

For more visit Clay Brick.

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