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United Reformed Church - Die Ark
Beaufort West, Western Cape

Arne SIKKEL: Architect



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32°22'07.82" S 22°34'27.59" E Alt: 839m

The Ark is constructed of local stone, rough timber beams, and a ceiling of woven reed mats. This ceiling recalls the ‘matjieshuis’ dwellings of the Khoi ancestors of the community, in which usually bent laths, woven grass matting and rawhide covers are applied.

The Ark is, like the matjieshuis, a haven in the desert, a source of pride for the local community. It is a sublime culmination of the ‘tent in the desert’ type and the kappiekerk type at once while expressing the sincere search for a locally relevant church architecture for South Africa. This was one of Arne Sikkel’s last South Africa projects. He soon emigrated to put his South Africa architectural skills to practice in the Netherlands.

(Nicholas Clarke in Common Ground 2021:115)

Writings about this entry

Clarke, Nicholas J, Fisher, Roger C & Kuipers, Marieke C . 2021. Common Ground : Dutch-South African Architectural Exchanges 1902-1961. The Netherlands: LM Publishers. pg 98 ill, 115, 115 ill