Kogelberg Tourist Accommodation

KLG Architects

The brief asked for the design of new tourist accommodation, an administration block, public ablutions for day visitors, parking and walk-ways within the UNESCO designated Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.
This ecologically sensitive, and environmentally volatile place is home to the planets’- richest concentration of floral diversity per unit-area. The winters are wet and cool, whilst the hot, dry summers can see the ferocious south-easter tearing through the Palmiet River valley at extreme speeds and intensities.
The architects’ response is the outcome of a highly informed approach to site, scale and materiality, carefully executed throughout the range of interventions that compromise the public and private elements of the programme.
The self-catering units, which are available to rent exclusively through Cape Nature, serve to subsidise the extensive conservation programme mandated to that body.
The accommodation provided, 5 one-bedroom and 3 three-bedroom units, is spatially generous, providing just the right amount of amenity and comfort to create a sense of being truly tucked into nature.
In an environment that is as majestic as it is sensitive, the architects do not sacrifice the delight of the user (or day-visitor hiking past), in seeking appropriate responses in the forms they create and the spaces these hold. Thresholds between inside and outside are masterfully negotiated and manipulated in the handling of shading, fenestration and openings. Details such as the baboon-proof solid-timber ventilation slots, are placed with common sense, consistency, and poetry.There was questioning within the jury regarding the economic accessibility of the accommodation provided and whether further typologies could have been explored to share the wonder of this place with more South Africans.
Environmentally appropriate technology, including solar and wind, is deployed in a manner that creates the possibility to expand the scope of the architecture beyond that of shelter and, into that of the educational and didactic. This group of carefully designed and placed objects in the landscape quietly demonstrate new approaches in negotiating the needs of humanity and those of the world within which it dwells.