OAKLANDS – UNDER THE OAK TREES
Two enormous oak trees, protected in their own right, and an original farm house built in 1901 on a land that today forms part of the suburb of Oaklands, set a strong historical context for this project. The architectural heritage value which guided restoration work, lies in the materiality of the house, as embodied in the stoep with the flat arched timber beams, rafters and posts, tall plastered chimneys, ‘side blocking’ brick window surrounds, Oregon pine vertical sash windows, doors and architraves, and Oregon pine floor boards.
However, the original service areas, situated on the eastern side of the house, were poorly designed and built, and their adverse impact was exacerbated by a land subdivision which imposed new access route onto the property from the rear, and which effectively sterilized the original hall and the stoep which defined the original entrance frontage.
The design approach taken was to replace the unsuitable kitchen and service areas on the eastern side with a new double-storey annexe adjoining the old house, consisting of a cellar, and a superstructure where an open-plan kitchen,
dining and family living area and an art studio in the loft communicate around a central double-volume. These spaces form the new heart of the house and are defined by a three-storey facebrick wall, housing three fire places between the old and new portion of the house. These were built in the traditional way with fire clay masonry: one fire place is serving the cellar, whilst the other two were built back to back, radiating warmth to the family room in the new wing, and to the formal lounge in the existing house.
The imperative to refurbish a compromised heritage asset provided the perfect opportunity to combine the Old World feel of the house with the contemporary lifestyle and needs of the current owners. The new additions supplement the existing – adding open living spaces while acknowledging the past, by careful scaling of the new additions, and by incorporating traditional materials, detailing and craftsmanship.