Areas and Places

Eastern Cape architect highlights eco-conscious design on new estate

Lock-up-and-go unit, Olivewood Private Estate and Golf Club
An artist's rendering of a lock-up-and-go unit on the Olivewood Private Estate and Golf Club.

According to a study carried out by US construction think tank Dodge Data and Analytics, South Africans are increasingly choosing to invest in properties that have been designed to limit their environmental impact. This has seen a rise in the number of buildings that are being developed using green construction solutions, such as those designed by one of East London’s leading architectural firms – TCN Architects. TCN’s Founder and Director, AJ Corbett has made the creation of eco-conscious properties the cornerstone of his practice’s design philosophy.

Corbett comments: “The threat of climate change reinforces the necessity for sustainable building solutions and has brought about a global rise in the use of green construction methods. In South Africa, this trend is accentuated by property owners looking for practical solutions to power outages, rising energy bills and water shortages. Taking these concerns into account TCN endeavours to design buildings that enable occupants to significantly reduce their environmental footprint and live in harmony with nature. This priority is well demonstrated through our most recent undertaking designing properties for East London’s first premium lifestyle estate – Olivewood Private Estate and Golf Club.”

Situated in the unspoilt Chintsa countryside 40 minutes outside of East London, Olivewood appeals to lovers of nature with a vested interest in preserving the surrounding land.  Therefore, Olivewood’s selection of design concepts elegantly incorporates solar energy, rainwater harvesting and water retention capabilities.

Corbett  continues: “Every architectural project should be used as an opportunity to create awareness about our environment. This extends beyond green construction to providing property designs that celebrate the beauty of their surroundings. 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.”

Spanning over 1 000 hectares of the Chintsa Valley, Olivewood’s varying landscapes offer a diverse range of design opportunities. On hilltop plains, walls give way to glazed openings, integrating views of grassland plateaus or lush natural forests. Houses set alongside the banks of the Chintsa River will have wide open verandas and terraces so residents will be able to enjoy the serene waterside atmosphere.

Corbett concludes: “Our designs draw inspiration from the wild beauty of the Eastern Cape. It is out of a love for this land that we endeavour to create homes that celebrate their surroundings whilst reducing or eliminating any potential negative impact on their environment. By making environmentally conscious building practices a priority at TCN, we aim to set the benchmark for future developments and influence the industry as a whole.”