Community Link

link - copyright james finnie

I was approached some time ago to prepare an idea for “enhancing” a nearby community centre which was once the Bowling Club. It seemed to me that a link with the adjacent Mainstream Shopping Centre could be used as a conduit to siphon the public into the community centre which is also the home for some local entrepreneurs. There is also a local Sunday market which draws many people. I need to make contact with the centre and see where the idea went and can it be resurrected.


Family Room Extension

My wife and I thought we had, on paper, designed the perfect house according to our brief. Once we settled in with our first child we realised we needed that missing link – a family room and a bigger garage. So after a few options, which were going nowhere, here is a real contender. It has little impact on our current layout and can be built quickly and doubles as another guest room.

Who’s Edith Stephens?

Edith Stephens Wetland Park blew me away when i first visited it, it is a unique jewel serving various communities in the heart of the Cape Flats. Edith Stephens is an urban wetland park which teaches life skills to the young kids in the area through ecology and environmental awareness in the park. I have been working on the Artscape Opera and Theatre Complex and when Greater Good South Africa’s Do It Day initiative identified that “Edith” wanted a stage to host events and shows, it seemed the perfect synergy.

This is me, knee deep in it during the casting of the stage.

“green” Blogger

Learning on the job! About a week into my first ever blog, and with a little bit of concentration i am slowly slowly getting to grips with the set up, its like learning a new CAD programme, but the input is immediate, which is great. My sister-in-law got me started but i think i need more of a helping hand. Its the first time that i’ve really understood how powerful this medium can be for marketing and selling yourself.

House Finnie

Pure White Box

Many factors forged the design of this house. A limited budget, demanding client (the architect himself and his wife) and a narrow, sloping site meant that economy of footprint, basic building materials and open plan spaces created a simple, two-storey box on a solid brick base.

House Finnie Exterier

Cape Dutch Long Houses from the 1800s inspired the rectangular simplicity of the house, set against the rugged mountain slopes of Hout Bay, outside Cape Town. An open plan ground floor provides a single entertaining space – some 20m from one end to the other.

From the front door, the space flows from lounge to kitchen to dining room, into a multi-functional work space which can be closed off from the main area by three full height sliding doors.

The centrepiece of the ground floor is the kitchen bar counter, oriented towards an enormous glass-covered opening looking out over a canopy of trees and the Hout Bay valley below. The 3m high by 12m wide glass and aluminium doors slide completely away onto a cantilevered terrace, providing a very special place to sit and entertain.

Next to the kitchen is a lofty double height dining/gallery space which includes a long stairway to the family sleeping area above.

Simple passive design techniques were used to heat the house in winter and keep it cool in the blazing Cape summer. A solar water heater reduces electricity consumption and keeps heating costs down while stainless steel ceiling fans circulate fresh air through the main living and sleeping areas.

Glass has been used not only to frame views of the stunning landscape but to allow light to penetrate deep into the narrow space in winter, heating up an exposed screed floor. An external canopy provides shade in summer and the double height gallery space funnels hot air out through high level windows.

Beautiful in its simplicity and true to its form, this house ticks all the boxes for the Finnie family – light, spacious, elegant, economical and a pure pleasure to live in.