The site is found on Main Road – nestled between Het Posthuys (a Heritage Resource Building) and the Muizenberg Railway Station, a magnificent Edwardian building with an impressive clock tower.
As a seaside resort Muizenberg is unique in that it is situated in a conservation area with a rich architectural heritage. The Heritage Mile, Beach Road and Main Road have outstanding Herbert Baker-designed houses and strong elements of the Art Deco architectural style that form part of the urban fabric of the “old town”.
The Muizenberg village area is a charming precinct with narrow streets, Victorian buildings and an interesting shopping area along Palmer Road. In the last two years the village area has been upgraded and gentrified, without sacrificing its unique architectural heritage.
This is the context and primary design indicator from which our process initiated. Taking precedent from the surrounding architectural language, the building is articulated in three parts: a plinth, the body and a top level.
The plinth of the building consists of two parking levels with pedestrian and vehicular access from Main Road and is softened with planters envisaged to participate in the urban design fabric and sense of place found along Main Road. The plinth references the memory of the original building footprint and is materially aligned with the Heritage Mile by introducing a contemporary interpretation of the rich sandstone and face brick tectonics of the area.
The body of the building consists of four levels of apartments with the main circulation to the rear of the building, making the most of the views over False Bay.
The main façade is fragmented into smaller ‘buildings’ using architectural elements and colour as tools to visually reduce the extent of the height and create pleasing proportions within the bigger mass.
The fifth floor is set back further to enhance this quality. The top level of the building consists of six penthouses set back from the main façade which adds positively to the existing Muizenberg Main Road skyline in terms of architectural language and sensitivity to the neighbouring buildings.
Roelof Rabe Architects