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Hot Property News

Apr 25, 2018 | Beautiful Spaces, Property News

Inspiring design and architectural trends shaping the future of property here and elsewhere in the world


This quaint cabin, built to withstand the most extreme weather in Norway, is technically four cabins in one. Each living node corresponds with different indoor functions, and features distinct materials, aesthetics and techniques. They have in common a patina of local timber treated with tar oil and gabled roofs oriented in the same direction. It was designed by Rever & Drage Argitekter for an outdoorsy family who wanted lots of space for sports equipment, a comfortable place to change before and after hiking and skiing, and a drying area for wet clothes. The design team says the cabin is “tailor-made to transport wet hikers from the glassed-in garage via a laundry area, bathroom and kitchen to a soft sofa by the fireplace with a wide panorama window.”


The eco-hotel is the latest buzzword in tourism circles – a luxurious retreat close to nature with as little impact on the environment as possible. One such establishment is Le Domaine des Cabanes des Grands Cépages in Avignon, France, with its 10 floating cabins in a marine reserve. It is barefoot, minimalist luxury at its best. Designed by French architecture firm Atelier LAVIT, the hotel was prefabricated in units and assembled on site to lessen the impact of construction on the landscape. The units feature sleep, lounge, deck and ablution nodes, and a walkway connects them to the shore.


In January this year, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) launched a new global challenge, Cities for our Future, aimed at students and young people to help solve issues around urbanisation. It’s estimated that cities around the world attract about 3 million new inhabitants every week, resulting in an exploding urban population that impacts the efficiency of service delivery and urban infrastructure. This initiative has identified 24 cities entrants can engage with to help solve these problems; and one of them is Durban. Cities for our Future was launched in partnership with the UK National Commission for UNESCO and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. The 12 best entries from around the world will be shortlisted for the global prize and will receive support and advice from RICS-qualified professionals before an overall winner will be announced in November 2018. It’s an opportunity to change the world and win a prize of £50 000 (about R800 000) and mentoring by industry experts to realise the idea.


We featured the Slovak-designed microhome concept Ecocapsule in 2017, and it is exciting to learn that it was launched earlier this year in the US, Japan, Australia and Europe. Only 50 of them have been built and the first one found a home in Japan. This prefab unit is a completely off-grid dwelling that can be used as a home, houseboat or research station in remote areas. It comes equipped with solar panels and a wind turbine for harvesting energy, and filters water from natural sources. The company by the same name, Ecocapsule, is currently looking to bring the concept to other markets via a crowd-funding initiative on Crowdberry.


Hotelier Sol Kerzner recently launched his first residential project, Kerzner Estate, in Hout Bay. The 10 ha development is located high on the slopes of Leeukoppie, just off Victoria Road, with panoramic views across Chapman’s Peak and the bay. Offering 48 luxury three-, four- and five-bedroom homes, the estate is built around Sol’s family home. With prices starting at just more than R20 million, with no transfer duty payable, the homes are all built according to eco-sensible principles such as grey- and rainwater harvesting and the planting of indigenous vegetation, mainly fynbos, which will replace all alien pine trees on the property. Each home will have a distinct design in harmony with the site and location, executed by six renowned architects commissioned for the first phase: Dennis Fabian of Fabian Architects, Stefan Antoni of ARRCC, Sean Mahoney of studioMAS, Jonathan Jacobs of Metropolis, Sally Tsiliyiannis of Gapp and Ian Gray of COA (Craft of Architecture).


TEXT Genevieve Putter PHOTOGRAPHS Ansjah Bloem, Thys Dullaart, Juan Baraja, suppied

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