I had such a brilliant time on Sunday, when I joined my friends Jo & Stu and rode our bikes out to Rondebosch/Newlands to join the first Open House Architecture tour this year. These tours are periodically organised by local architect Ilze Wolff, to showcase the architecturally significant buildings in Cape Town and surrounds.
This tour, OH14, was a particularly special one, as two Cape Town architects, Adèle Naudé Santos, and Antonio de Souza Santos, who both now live, teach and practice in the USA, were brought in to conduct a tour of their work in Cape Town between 1968 – 1973.
We visited an exquisitely conceived housing group in Rowan Lane, Kenilworth, a hanging gardened four-apartment block in Scott Road, Kenilworth, the long, thin Iona Court in Newlands, and the utterly enviable private House Stekhoven in Ohlsson Way, Newlands.
From the oh.a website:
These modernist jewels are hidden within the upper middle class residential suburbs of Newlands, Kenilworth, and Simonstown, each displaying a powerful connection with Table Mountain. Because of the architects’ sensitivity to contextual concerns such as climate and site, the houses and apartment blocks hover ambivalently between a strict adherence to the stylistic dogmas of the Modern Movement and a determination to depart from the rules.
Amazingly, apart from a possibly ill-advised lick of paint on off-shutter concrete, and some long-disappeared turf roofs, these buildings have not been damaged through neglect or insensitive alterations. I skipped the last home in Simonstown (due to being on a bike), but even my truncated tour felt like an immensely enriching way to spend a Sunday morning.
OH Architects have also published a monograph on this work of Naudé Santos, and de Souza Santos, which are available for purchase from OH Architects, and you can find out about future tours by signing up here for the OH Tours newsletter here.