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Ivy Villa Stables Conversion and Studio
Clydesdale, Pretoria, Gauteng

’Ora JOUBERT: Architect

1995SAIA Award of Merit


Those who read the professional journals and peruse the popular magazines will be well acquainted with this project as it has evolved over the past five years.

The stables were the wood and iron building of the restant of the erf of the main Edwardian verandahed homestead at the corner of Ivy and Villa streets, Pretoria. The integrity of the fabric of the existing has been retained and the spaces skilfully manipulated by clip-on glass bays and the insertion of plate-glass windows to expand the visual perimeters of the shoe-box shed. The whole is conceived as follies within Mondrian geometry of gravel, plants and ponds, all surmounted by an extant water tank and stand brought back to use.

The studio is a new structure, the form-giving an intellectualisation of the vernacular of the existing stables. The aesthetic is the same, but the structure newly invented rather than being compromised by existing materials. The fly-away butterfly roof adds a whimsy in which only an architect designing for herself can indulge, but provides an opportunity for playful tectonics. The insertion of electrical services by BARNARD, pursued with fetishistic exactitude, guides the eye and makes intelligent the relationships. One must take issue with the reckless disregard for climatic concerns, strange for someone Pretorian born-and-bred. However the architect is her own client and her poetic deserts her just. Perhaps there is call for some NOEROic efforts.

The added structure sits well on the site, enhancing the relationship between the stables and the restored homestead it once served. Although the appearance is a little startling in the conservative residential suburb of Clydesdale, the buildings shares the domestic scale of its surrounds.

Though not necessarily a model to be mimicked, the building is considered merit-worthy in that it is an expression of an architect in serious intellectual pursuit of her art.


This building was chosen as an exhibit at the Pretoria University School of Architecture 50 year Alumni exhibition held at the Pretoria Art Gallery in 1993.

These notes were last edited on 2019 11 18

Writings about this entry

Muwanga, Christina. 1998. South Africa : a guide to recent architecture. London : Köln: Ellipsis : Könemann. pg 232-233
Swart, Johan & Proust, Alain . 2019. Hidden Pretoria. Cape Town: Struik Lifestyle. pg 218-219
Gerneke, Gus Stables & Studio: in Joubert, 'Ora (Ed). 2009. 10 years + 100 buildings: pp 90-93