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Nov 21, 2017 | Property News


As part of a major redevelopment in London’s legal district, Orms Architecture came up with an innovative and visually arresting solution to connect two of the Victorian buildings in Chancery Lane. Hovering over an open alleyway, a series of contemporary cubes made of aluminium and glass have replaced the bridges that connected numbers 83 and 84 Chancery Lane. We love how the façade of this new in-fill build changes in appearance according to the movement of the sun throughout the day due to its glistening jewel-like quality.

Prefab-ulous design

With prefabricated modular housing all the rage at the moment, it’s about time that a business offered more than a shoebox-size prototype. Enter Russian company DublDom with designs ranging from cabins to country houses, installed on site in three days. All models come fitted with electrical wires and water and sewerage connection pipes that only need to be connected to the municipal network. They also include sanitaryware, furniture and household appliances. Prices start at ¤22 300 (about R350 000) for a 26 m2 cabin.

A shining example

The newest residential developments of JSE-listed Balwin Properties, Kikuyu and The Whisken in Waterfall and Kyalami, respectively, have been fitted out with solar energy systems. This was done in partnership with SolarAfrica, which specialises in clean energy solutions specifically for the South African residential sectional title market. The company’s latest advancement allows for up to 40% of a development’s total energy requirements to be supplied by solar photovoltaic systems. Each apartment block will be fitted with dual-glass, frameless polycrystalline modules, which have some of the best performance ratings in the industry and blend well with the architectural style of each building. We hope to see more such systems on the roofs of new residential and commercial builds in future.


The winners of the first African Architecture Awards (AAAs), presented by Saint-Gobain, were recently announced in Cape Town. The entries came from all over the continent and certainly lived up to the expectations of the patron of the awards, renowned architect Sir David Adjaye. “Now is the time to promote excellence and best practice on the continent,” he says. “The AAAs are particularly important, because this is the moment that a lot is happening on the continent in terms of development, in terms of the architecture that’s being produced.” The winner of the Grand Prix Award is Choromanski Architects for the uMkhumbane Cultural and Heritage Museum in Cato Manor, Durban. It’s an accolade worth much more than the cash prize of US$10 000 (about R133 000), as it is a project that best describes the ultimate objective of the AAAs: to inspire the future of African architecture.


The displacement of people due to climate change, war, poverty and other vulnerable living conditions has inspired the creation of the LifeArk, a housing solution for marginalised communities. It is a prefabricated modular building system that includes water purification, solar energy and waste management functionalities. It can be adapted on- or offgrid into a variety of structure types, including community centres, health clinics, schools, hydroponic farms and homes. It has an estimated lifespan of at least 25 years. LifeArk is in the final prototype stage, to be rolled out as a pilot project for residents of Santa Rosa Island on the Amazon River in Peru.

TEXT Genevieve Putter PHOTOGRAPHS Marcus Peel, supplied

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