The Doc

Its been a while since i wrote, but this morning i had one hell of an inspiration injection. I heard Dr Mamphela Ramphele talk on the radio and WOW, WOW, WOW. Not that i’ve heard a barrow full of speech makers of late but what an eloquent, straight to the point and “talker of the obvious”.

Viva La Doc, Viva.

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Turn your back for 8 Years

Wow, i used to live in the London borough of Vauxhall, on the face of it, it didn’t have much to offer but it had it’s character and several hidden gems. It’s great to see that there are several plans afoot to enhance the area from funky towers to what looks like a major urban intervention. Allies and Morrison have prepared a large seemingly well thought out proposal. I grew very fond of Vauxhall, but as the old saying goes – turn your back for 8 years, a lot can change. Looking forward to the next 8 years. Miss you Val-hal!

Is my Tree House a Green Building?

Modularisation – that’s what came to mind when the builder was removing redundant acoustic panels from a rehearsal space on a refurbishment project I am working on. These 1.2m x 1.2m panels could be “clipped” together to make a tree house for my kids. It was with great satisfaction last weekend and the invaluable help of a local joiner Vincent, that my kids moved into their recycled tree house. They had been waiting patiently all weekend to see it realized.
So the ingredients are – 8 acoustic panels, scaffolding board, old gum polls, various bits of wood, handle and hinges found in my tool box. Purchases from local hardware store – screws, sand and cement, rafters and corrugated sheeting.

Cape STORM in a TEA CUP

ImageImageWell, the proposed new Chapman’s Peak Toll Booth and Offices have caused a huge storm here in Hout Bay. A huge march to the site took place yesterday to show the communities concern. Personally I think the proposal is actually quite sensitive and sympathetic, the current set up is actually an embarrassment for such an attraction. Faded plastic cream toll booths siting so high up that you can barely reach up to pay your money and metal containers for offices. I don’t think many of the protesters work in such circumstances. Everyone is up in arms about building in a national park but almost all parks need support buildings in order to entice the public in and carry out the running of the park.

Things have gone a little skew when a two storey building with the top floor set back is called an office block. The cost of the buildings also needs to be put into perspective, the building and tolls cost R13m, but fair enough the overall cost is R53m, but come on, in the scope of things this is nothing when you consider other projects country wide. Maybe the protesters should be lobbying the government department which funds housing. Just my thoughts! 

A little greener.

Just attended the Accredited Professional Course held by the Green Building Council South Africa GBCSA on their Green Star Office Tool. Talk about being reinvigorated again and getting an injection of enthusiasm. A well run and inspiring course, with good speakers, I am now ready to sit the exam and become an accredited professional. There is now greater determination for me to push and take on board the green star rating ethics on all my projects, even if only in part.
The green star rating tool allows you to rate your building and by doing this a star rating is achieved. This star rating allows you to boast that your project meets best practice or even better international standards. The course took place in the very luxurious Vineyard Hotel , which also helped.

Scrubs Up Well

Was given an ozzie architectural magazine from my Ozzie Auntie, packed full of quality work as usual, and then lurking at the back a classic house from DCM, revisited. They are a great Australian practice and was a constant source when we were students. the house is audacious and extravagant to say the least, but talk about a clean sheet of paper. Being a lover of concrete it was great for me to see it being used for a house in such a monumental way. Having said that in the same magazine I was reminded that concrete does not weather well and wondered if the “revisit” wasn’t a chance to give the house a wee scrub up, boy I’d like to know. See the green mould on the base of a brand new funky terrace. How a building weathers after 10 and then 20 years is for me an important ingredient which is almost completely overlooked when we drool over those freshly taken glossy pictures. Never the less cool house, looks like is ageing beautifully.

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Mr Jobs

Genius.