The architecture of a “signature” visitor centre at the entrance to Port Elizabeth’s Hopewell Conservation Estate has been recognised by the South African Institute of Architects, which conferred the 2013/2014 Corobrik SAIA Award of Merit for the building.
It is the second major award for the building, which received the Regional Award for Architecture from the Eastern Cape Institute of Architects in 2013.
Designed by multi award-winning architect Richard Stretton of Koop Design, the visitor centre provides a reference for the style of residential homes, lodges and hospitality suites being built on the three thousand hectare conservation estate.
It was built by Port Elizabeth-based Wouter van der Westhuizen of Chris Hawes Construction.
In its citation for the 2013 award, the ECIA states: “The well-conceived and beautifully detailed structure has echoes of the Barcelona Pavilion, but reflecting in its making and choice of materials the ecological concerns of the twenty-first century. “The building is finely detailed and crafted and well-made. The project provides a benchmark for both the design and construction of the residences which are to follow, while being a piece of jewel-box architecture in its own right”.
It is used as a café-style restaurant over weekends, as well as a reception area for visitors and future homeowners in the lifestyle reserve.
It also serves as the base for the reserve’s popular mountain bike and hiking trails.
“We are delighted with the awards as they confirm that Hopewell is at the cutting edge of design, conservation and sustainability. We are creating a sustainable residential estate within an urban nature reserve,” says developer Brian Corrigan.
Construction of the first home, which overlooks a natural valley fed by a perennial stream, is due to be completed in November 2014.
Ground will be broken on a second home within the next few weeks, says Corrigan.
“Designed to fit into the landscape, both residential homes are inspired by the visitor centre. We have a portfolio of designs by Richard Stretton from which homeowners can choose, or use as a starting point for the design of their dream homes,” he says.
According to Corrigan, the designs “offer a contemporary lifestyle for nature lovers who want to be able to commute daily to work from a beautiful and secure reserve.”
The estate has a limited number of freehold erven available in the nature reserve, which is home to a number of indigenous game species.
They include the rare and endangered Cape Mountain Zebra.
Hopewell is situated adjacent to the Wedgewood Golf Estate off Cape Road, and within a few minutes’ drive of the newly-developed Bay West Shopping Mall. Viewing is by prior appointment.
Author: Christena Crause
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