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Francolin Lodge & Orange Restaurant
Mbombela (Nelspruit), Mpumalanga

CECILIA ARCHITECTS CC (CEA): Architect

Date:2007
Client:Leona Kolesky
Type:Restaurant
Status:Extant
2009SAIA MP Award for Architecture
Street:4 Du Preez Street

Award citation
Orange Restaurant and Francolin Lodge is a complex of newly designed lodge accommodation and house refurbished as restaurant. The restaurant retains a domestic scale but through almost an entire gutting and opening to the dramatic view the architecture serves merely as staging and backdrop to the dining experience. The lodge is of a cabana style and having the dividing wall as a sculpted elements lends spacial dynamic. The loft apartments predict a certain lifestyle, (perhaps not for the puritanical!) but convey through its architectural resolution, a sense of repose. The project is recipient of the MIA Award for Architecture.

Brief
Refurbish and alter the existing residence into a restaurant and conference facility and provide eight new guest units.

Outcome
For the restaurant and conference facility the existing residence was transformed by demolishing most of the internal walls and extending the veranda. The roof shape was retained for the veranda extension which protrudes into the scenic vista. Timber and stone was introduced to create a link with the environment. Large pane windows in powder coated aluminium frames allow for unobtrusive views.

The kitchen is partially screened with a low brick wall. Glazing on top of the wall gives the diner a view into the activities of the kitchen and add to the relaxed yet stylish atmosphere. Attention to detail and play with texture and colour add to the welcoming atmosphere of the restaurant.

A gold painted S-curved wall divides the service areas, office and bathrooms from the dining and kitchen areas. The conference facility is next to the main entrance. An operable wall allow for one large or two smaller facilities. The main entrance is accessed along a wide textured path with a Koi pond on one side and a stone clad wall on the other side.

Wide doors lead the visitor to the reception space with views to the townscape. The reception links the conference and dining areas. A wide flight of steps lead the visitor to the lower level garden, pool and deck. Underneath the veranda the level difference between the upper and lower levels allowed for a cellar and wine tasting room.

The new guest units were designed to accommodate two standard units on ground level and two family units on the upper level with a mezzanine floor. An S-shaped curved wall divides the units and create an interesting element. The bedroom has built-in beds with the kitchen directly behind. The bathroom is open plan with the bedroom but with some privacy, the look is minimal, yet intimate.

Texture, colour and light accommodate intimacy and warmth. Each unit has a private balcony with excellent views to the surrounding scenery. The exterior of the building is a marriage between 1950's architecture of the existing residence-turned-restaurant and contemporary architecture with a link to nature. On-grade parking was formed between existing trees and rocky outcrops to retain the Lowveld landscape.

With the refurbishment and alterations to the existing residence the brief induced the creation of space which amplifies the itinerant experience with the introduction of eight new guest units, a conference facility and restaurant enriched with vibrant colours and panoramic views over a rolling Lowveld cityscape.

[Cecelia Architects CC, March 2010]

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 94
MPIA Adjudication Panel Francolin Lodge & Orange Restaurant: 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 94