Schabort Associates Architects, which was established by Wynand Schabort in 2006, has designed and overseen the construction of some of the most beautiful bespoke homes in the Western Cape, as well as a wide range of developments including residential estates, retirement villages, industrial developments, commercial properties, laboratories, mixed-use precincts and restorations.
‘We have been fortunate to work on a wide variety of projects including specialised industrial buildings, laboratories, historical renovations, commercial projects, educational and sports facilities, resorts, affordable housing and a large number of bespoke homes, to name a few,’ says Schabort. ‘The diversity of projects and our adventurous clients have allowed us to hone our skills over the years, and produce buildings of exceptional quality.’
The practice is renowned for producing buildings that are contextually and environmentally responsive, and that show flair and panache. They are not style bound, are honest in their use of materials, and are inherently sustainable. In fact, the principles of sustainability are integral to their approach to improving the quality of buildings. ‘We are continually exploring new materials and methods of construction technology to ensure that we are not just well informed with current international developments but also leading the way with new technologies,’ says Schabort.
All buildings are designed from first principles, and the practice is constantly developing new strategies to incorporate cost-effective environmental design measures to improve efficiency, and to ensure a solution that is unique to the site and all its attributes. No matter how big or small the budget, careful consideration is given to all aspects of the design, from the concept stage to the finest detail, from future proofing of use to the weathering of the materials.
But an important part of sustainability is ensuring the best use of all resources – and that includes financial resources – so it is worth noting that Schabort Associates has a well-deserved reputation as a highly cost-conscious and innovative firm delivering exceptional buildings on small budgets.
‘We have been involved as estate architects in a number of residential estates over the years,’ says Schabort, ‘and we have designed numerous dwellings in a large number of residential estates across South Africa.’ So the company is used to working with designers from the outset, and assisting with the implementation of design, building and aesthetic standards, and also working with individual owners in well-established estates.
‘We are currently busy implementing some phases at Somerset Lakes in Somerset West, where we have designed 550 units across a wide spectrum. This project gave us the opportunity to explore our specific design philosophy regarding multiproduct estates to integrate various cost points seamlessly into its fabric. Through careful use of materials and scale, we managed to introduce elements that have never been implemented at this price point before.’
Elevation studies, drawing from the Gestalt laws, have been meticulously crafted to create pleasing streetscapes using a simple yet effective method of oscillation to create variation in street facades. ‘The value of texture and shadow as tools to create profound results is greatly underestimated,’ says Schabort.
Colour schemes and material selection were informed by the immediate environment, and service areas have been integrated to be sheltered between buildings as far as possible to save the cost of building enclosures and to keep them out of view. This made it possible for an interactive streetscape to be composed with low walls and hedged fences.
‘But we are also very comfortable working on individual homes within estates,’ he adds, explaining that
“Creating a truly unique and personalised home, while respecting and complying with the estate’s building codes, requires considerable experience and sensitivity. While we take great care to comply with the estate’s aesthetic requirements, and to work within the general style, we take a fresh approach to every home we design.”
And, of course, the most important thing about a Schabort designed home is that it will be specifically designed around
the needs of the people who will live in it, and it will be carefully moulded into the environment to best utilise every advantage of its position. A home is, after all, about people and place, and where they come together in a harmonious fusion – both in time and space.