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Sanctuary, The
Nahoon, East London, Eastern Cape

SMALE and PARTNERS: Architect

Date:2009
Client:The Sanctuary Unit 4
Type:Homestead
Status:Extant
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B-KIA Award for Architecture Citation

This project is a four level steel-framed house in a complex/private nature reserve on a steep bank of the Nahoon River. The effect is a glass- wrapped dwelling that hugs the slope. Priorities were: maximizing the panoramic views; ensuring privacy - not only for this unit, but for all five units in the complex; use of technology.

It succeeds because it successfully utilizes a steep site - maximizing slope, view and orientation.

In some cases a 270 degree view has been achieved - despite having to ensure the views and privacy of the other units in this tight development. Through maximizing the location's scenic beauty, one experiences such a closeness to the river that you almost feel you are on it.

Clear, simple geometry has been carried throughout. While the outer perimeter is essentially a rectangle, interest has been created with twisting terracing that unwinds on the "inner core". The adjudicators were also impressed by the clean lines and aesthetic integrity of the project's profile.

A good interplay of indoor and outdoor spaces has been achieved, particularly on the middle level.

While this unit is distinctly contemporary, it maintains a harmony with its surroundings, partly by stepping down the slope and partly because of the successful interplay of materials. The carefully chosen palette ensures its unobtrusiveness.

The project lends itself to contemporary building in the latest style, and in doing so, pushes the boundaries of construction in East London.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.


Writings about this entry

South African Institute of Architects. 2010. Awards : South African Institute of Architects. Awards for Excellence, Awards of Merit, Regional Awards for Architecture 2009/2010. Cape Town: Picasso for SAIA. pg 55
BKIA Adjudicators Panel The Sanctuary: in South African Institute of Architects. 2010. Awards : South African Institute of Architects. Awards for Excellence, Awards of Merit, Regional Awards for Architecture 2009/2010: pp 55