Kliphuis for Capensis Wines

Slee & Co. Architects (Pty) Ltd

Kliphuis is a fabulous hospitality pavillion for Capensis Wines. The building takes its visual and material clues from the surrounding topography of the grand Banhoek mountainscape, fynbos and viticulture. Situated high up against the mountainside, it boasts spectacular views towards the Simonsberg and the Drakenstein mountain range in the distance.

Here, the architecture doesn’t aim to compete with its environment, but rather quietly optimises the use of every advantage offered. Ochre coloured stone was harvested on the farm, and building work was finished in the same ‘hand crafted’ and rustic manner as found with a pre-existing informal terrace. The natural stone palette is beautifully complimented by the use of terracotta klompjes for the outside paving areas.

The main function of the building is to accommodate bespoke Capensis wine tasting experiences. There is an attractively understated lounge area, a tasting area, a wine cellar room, and a professional chef’s kitchen for demonstrations. Connected via a short meander through an indigenous garden courtyard, there is an open plan farm office, with kitchenette and bathroom facilities. Effective play is made of the mountainside context by using sculptural pieces of rock as pavers and stair-steps.

Back at the main building, low slung, dark corrugated roofs cantilever outwards, forming a spacious wine tasting ‘stoep’ with show stopping views. Timber is used extensively for the roof structure, ceilings, floors, wall cladding and furniture. The timber used, came from local alien deforestation, and was processed on the farm. Aluminium glazed doors cleverly slide into cavities in the stone walls, enabling a seamless flow between inside and outside areas. Smartly designed interior furniture is also crafted from wood cut on the farm. An evaporative cooling system and double combustion wood fireplace, ensures year-round climatic comfort.

Outside, a large traditional ‘Cape’ hearth and a more modern pizza oven, caters to diverse open air entertaining options. An old, revived vine pergola at the far end of stone terrace, creates shade for a long tasting table, taking good weather wine tasting out into the garden.

Kliphuis is a simply captivating project, characterized principally by a respect for its natural environment, and a restrained design ethos. An agreeable perception of tranquil well-being pervades throughout. The architectural language is sophisticated, and displays a sensitive balance between organic/rustic, and ‘modern minimalist’ design typologies, and applied consistently with a delightfully light touch.

Architect: Slee & Co Architects

Client:Capensis Wines

Structural Engineer:Eward Grobler of Grobler & Associates Consulting Engineers, Hermanus

Main Contractor:Christo Kaufmann of PR Homes, Foreman – Johann Bekker