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The Folie
Nottingham Road, KwaZulu-Natal

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DESIGNWORKSHOP : SA: Architect

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Date:2010?
Type:Homestead
Status:Extant

Award for Architecture Citation

In balancing the aspects offered by the eminence and orientation, it became clear that a U-shaped plan would offer prospective views over the residential estate while providing a courtyard to capture the sun.

The house is well adjusted to its site with solid bedroom wings on either side of the axis terminating in the living space conceived as a glass pavilion to provide a prospect over the landscape. The latter opens on both sides to serve as a veranda, an informality underscored by the raked timber ceiling and the projecting pergola.

The jury applauded the boldness of the design and the impeccable detailing, appreciated the sliding screens in the living area designed to conserve concentrations of warmth, the bay windows to capture the sun, and the rustic character of the whole which it believed appropriate to its context.

Award of Merit Citation

The Folie is situated within a low-density development, perched on a hill crop in seamless harmony with the landscape. This siting allows for the appreciation of the building, giving it prominence and stature within the landscape of Cowrie Farm. When approaching the building from a distance, It gets concealed and revealed by the winding route leading to the site, vacillating ones emotions between excitement to reach the destination and anticipation of what is to come.

This sense of mystique is further felt upon reaching the destination to find oneself being greeted by a double garage door and a face-brick wall appearing to be a boundary wall, whereas it serves to screen a main living area courtyard and secondary bedroom courtyard. Only upon entering the gate leading into the main courtyard, is the veil of mystery lifted to expose an intimate warmly embracing court that filters through the glass encased dining and lounging area, flanked by a kitchen to the east and a TV lounge on the west, all within a partially cantilevered glazed box.

The building as a whole constitutes an indoor public realm that is encased within a pitch-roofed curtain wall, from which two flat-roofed face-brick private realm wings extend in a southerly direction. This seemingly enigmatic but creatively contrasting configuration of the pitch-roofed curtain wall and the flat-roofed face-brick wings, sharply differentiates the building from the surrounding contemporary farmhouse-styled residential buildings within the estate. It is further worth noting how the stock-brick - that is the face-brick - was intentionally broken by the contractor as per the architect's specification so as to achieve a naturally rugged appearance of the building's brickwork.

The circulation and orientation of spaces within the building allows for a visual maximisation of the scenic surrounds of Cowrie Farm. The interior finishes and layout of spaces within the Folie allows for an adaptive re-use from a private dwelling to a commercial boutique hotel. The earlier mentioned arrival mystique of the building carries through technically in the interior by the use of hidden detailing, lighting and fixtures.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

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