SAOTA & Jaco Booyens

Buffelsldrift farm in the Klein Karoo is an adaptive reuse heritage project. The site housed several Cape Dutch buildings that were built on the farm during the mid 1800s with the main house dating back to 1852. In 2017 the architects were faced with a dilapidated and neglected site and chose to approach it with love.
Evidence from earlier refurbishments of the 1970s were removed. The plaster was stripped out to reveal the original palimpsest of the structures and the construction technique.
These traditional construction techniques such as the use of poured earth were recognised and adopted by the architects. The project acts as a dialogue between historic Cape vernacular techniques, indigenous construction, and contemporary urgencies around sustainability in the built environment.
The project is very much about landscape. The most significant external works are in the subtle but effective terraced platforms that set the existing buildings into the landscape.
This is a project of infrastructure, of a water system and of the rehabilitation of the farm into a productive olive orchard. The use of traditional techniques with a contemporary reading and heritage reinterpretation transforms and enhances the original structures into a seamless new narrative between vernacular architecture and contemporary interior design, and into its new adapted use as a place of leisure and retreat. The quality of the interior and exterior space is so compelling that at the site visit the jury panel were reluctant to leave.

Architects:Jaco Booyens & SAOTA

Contractors:Pro-Projects & De Kock Bouers

Photographer:Adam Letch