The worldwide movement towards eco-friendly living has taken centre stage in the design ethos of lifestyle estates across the country, directing architectural and decor trends without compromising on luxury and style.
Architects working in these estates aim to design energy-efficient buildings with a lower carbon footprint, a practice that extends to the communal areas of the estates, with design teams embracing local artisans and craftspeople.
For example, at Olivewood Private Estate & Golf Club, situated in the unspoilt Chintsa countryside 40 minutes outside of East London, TCN Architects selected design concepts that incorporate solar energy, rainwater harvesting and water retention capabilities.
Olivewood’s varying landscapes offer a diverse range of design choices. On hilltop plains, walls give way to glazed openings, integrating views of grassland plateaus or natural forests, while houses set alongside the banks of the Chintsa River have wide-open verandas and terraces, so residents are able to enjoy the serene waterside atmosphere.
‘Olivewood’s homes have been created to enjoy a symbiotic relationship with nature. As the design benefits the environment, so too does the surrounding environment benefit the design with the incorporation of natural light and ventilation, as well as design elements that allow residents to enjoy their surroundings,’ says AJ Corbett, founder of TCN Architects.
The same ethos drove the design of Elaleni Coastal Forest Estate close to Ballito In KwaZulu-Natal, where solar power with sizeable battery packs, grey water treatment, rainwater harvesting, and waste recycling are standard.
Rondebosch Oval in Cape Town, built around a cricket oval, is another great example of green living design. Here, dhk Architects endeavoured to bring abundant light into the homes with giant windows and doors, making optimal use of light and ventilation. Local decor brands like Lula and Home Fabrics were used by interior designer Sue Lederle to create contemporary interiors with charm and colour.
In Gauteng is Olivewood Residential Lifestyle Estate near Olivedale north of Johannesburg, where the homes have been built with sustainability top of mind, harnessing solar power to heat water and the pool, and using thermal insulation to make the homes cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Rainwater can be collected to water the gardens, and indigenous landscaping encourages birdlife and wildlife.
For South Africans living in our tight economy, sustainability also means affordability, which developers have responded to by creating mixed-use, multigenerational estates that dramatically reduce the need to travel anywhere, be it to school, to see a doctor or to go grocery shopping.
Enter estates like Westbrook, in the new suburb of Westbrook in Port Elizabeth, which features nine residential areas with a town square that will offer commercial and retail spaces, as well as recreational buildings, a step-down hospital, offices and apartments.
‘The concept of multigenerational living means that families can easily share resources. In the case of Westbrook, we have a number of developments planned, which means that levies can be shared and are therefore more affordable than if you were living in a development that was home only to a particular age group,’ explains Clifford Oosthuizen, MD of Westbrook.
At Eastwood at Somerset Lakes, in Somerset West, this traffic-free convenience is extended to a concept called the Eastwood Club, which has hot desks, boardrooms, fibre connectivity and workspaces with views. It is close to homes and entertainment areas, allowing people to take a break from work either by going home, or by strolling in natural surroundings.