The starting point for Bellevue Campus is the traditional South African agricultural settlement – uniform extruded sheds arranged around a central yard connecting a diverse range of mutually-supportive activities into an effective functional ecology. When the farmhouse is part of this arrangement, it’s usually a more elaborate construction expressing its specifically domestic purpose.
Adopting its capacity to enable so much with so little, we abstracted and applied the model’s primary built and open-space attributes. Uniform extrusions are re-coded into super-flexible office, residential, warehousing, education or retail uses, each end modified into a unique portico marking the entrances to buildings and external spaces.
The agricultural yard is also re-coded, mutating a hard functional environment into an extracted piece of the indigenous savannah landscape. Through location and elevation, the preexisting Cape-Dutch style house is assigned the role of primary public building on a public garden.
Stone pergola columns, garden and terrace walls and other fragments of the site’s multi-generational history are retained as physical and sentimental references. The undulating topography is shaped into a series of landscape terraces.
Original outbuildings on the perimeter of the site are adapted, extended and new elements attached to accommodate a range of supporting amenities – a restaurant/café, boutique retail store and a specialist bakery – that enrich the new business, social, and cultural ecology.
Kloof, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Mixed-use, Commercial, Hospitality, Retail, Office
SAIA Award of Excellence (2002)