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House Press - Coromandel
Mashishing (Lydenburg) district, Mpumalanga

Marco ZANUSO: Architect

Client:Sydney Press
Style:Critical Regionalism


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25°15'15.88" S 30°19'22.36" E

Now 'Africa House'

The Coromandel Estate was developed by Sydney Press the founder of Edgars. He imported the architect Marco ZANUSO from Italy to do the design and supervision. Marco ZANUSO brought out his own construction team of Italian builders and craftspeople.

A stone placed above the entrance of Coromandel bearing both the Architect Marco Zanuso and client Sydney Press's name, date in Roman numerals 1975 and Latin inscription from the Aeneid of Virgil with somewhat obscure meaning - perhaps "here a boundless ending"?

Wording on headstone:

Marco Zanuso
Sydney Press

The design by Marco ZANUSO comprises the main house and a stable complex. There is a separate stable that was designed to house what was at the time the most expensive horse in the world.

There has been another stable complex built more recently and there are also many other buildings on the estate.

The estate is now owned by the Coromandel Farmworkers Trust as an empowerment project.

Coromandel is open to the public for day visitors and offers trout fishing, horse riding, hiking and mountain biking. There are also several self catering facilities that sleep from four to ten people.

Mira FASSLER KAMSTRA reports in discussion that Sydney Press had approached Roberto BURLE-MARX who did a conceptual design for Coromandel but it was not to the taste of Mrs Victoria Press (his wife) who then approached the young Patrick WATSON and gave him his first commission as landscaper. His approach was radically different and set a trend for landscape design in South Africa – the use of indigenous material in an ecologically systemic fashion to create a formally naturalist response to the architecture.

The Burle Marx design 'was later to find execution somewhere in Brazil', since his scheme was more expressionist and less space-specific.