OH12 Garden Route

This time OH tours went national, well not exactly national – but let’s say ‘further a field’. The Architectural Forum of Knysna Plettenberg Bay invited me to show the work of that area. This is a significant step for OH tours because it seems that for the first time others have also begun to see the value of their architectural environment and decided to act on it. Of course I agreed and the result was a weekend trip to Knysna and Plett to look at some gorgeous holiday houses along the Garden Route– not bad for a long weekend. I was moved by three houses: House Elphick by Design Workshop, House Kemp by Peter Rich and Beach House Philips by Noero Wolff.

First of all, I don’t believe in luxury homes, let alone luxury HOLIDAY homes. I think that it is an anti – Marxist idea and promotes conspicuous consumption. That is until I walked into House Elphick, situated on the most exclusive beachfront ridge in Plettenberg Bay. It is an unapologetic display of wealth, but rather than showing us: hey! look at these expensive finishes I got from the far corners of god-knows-where – the money was spent on real invention: a louver system that is as much a party trick as it is a dynamic spatial experience. A colleague, who shares my semi-Marxists ideals, said to me that she was walking through the house thinking to herself, ‘I’m not suppose to like this, but I do.’ I share her sentiment – finally a luxury house with some real architectural thought and invention as opposed to the empty allure of luxury.




House Elphick - Design Workshop

House Elphick - Design Workshop

House Elphick - Design Workshop
House Kemp by Peter Rich, on the other end of the scale is a wooden cottage built with a tight budget. To me, even though it was a third of the size of House Elphick, it surpasses it in terms of spatial generosity quite simply because it seems unbounded by its own structure. Mevrou Kemp told me that 28 people happily camped out in this 4 bedroomed house one Christmas. This is because the house accommodates the compromises one is willing to make when on holiday, a sort of rejection, in a way of the up-tightness of the luxury holiday get away.

House Kemp - Peter Rich

House Kemp - Peter Rich

House Kemp - Peter Rich


House Kemp - Peter Rich

Beach House Philips presents a middle ground between House Kemp and House Elphick. It is neither lavish nor monastic. Unlike House Elphick it sits inside of a suburban holiday neighbourhood but unlike House Kemp, it has a substantial view of the sea. What can I say, for me, Beach House Phillips is really about true architectural inventiveness: formally, diagrammatically and technically. Photo Credits: H Wolff


Beach House Phillips - Noero Wolff


Beach House Phillips - Noero Wolff


Beach House Phillips - Noero Wolff

Beach House Phillips - Noero Wolff



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