Text description provided by the architects. Neighbouring residential property which contained an old derelict Pretoria house. The concept proposed to repurpose the existing house and freestanding garage as a conference room and café at minimal cost, disturbance and time. The surviving elements of the building were exposed and uncovered to serve as the backbone of the new design – to support new interventions and additions. Design and materials were selected to stitch together the old and new fabric and transform the existing buildings to facilitate a variety of social spaces, whilst making the most of Pretoria’s favourable climate.
Ceilings, floors and internal walls were removed from the old house to accommodate the conference space, kitchen and bathrooms. The structural integrity of the old garage walls was questionable, thus an additional layer was added in the form of a steel structure placed over the old brick walls. The resultant loft creates non-traditional volumes and adds a mezzanine space for a café and lounge area. The new roof and cantilevered glass facades offer glimpses of dense foliage whilst the street-facing picture window invites public glimpses to the life within. The existing building footprint and walls remained intact. Plaster was removed to reveal original bricks and celebrate the presence of the old.
In choosing a brownfield site and renovating an existing building, the impact of construction is kept to a minimum. Construction waste, such as demolished internal walls and heritage pavers found on site, was reclaimed and reused on site for construction or as artwork. New window placements and skylights invite natural daylight into the structure and assist in keeping the energy demand as low as possible. Natural cross ventilation and sufficient insulation assist in passive cooling of the structure during summer.