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Description New development to replace existing
Client Definite Properties
Location Cradle of Humankind
Size 28 beds
Value R28 Million
Interior Design Lisa Younger

architecture [Built work -2000m2] Forum Homini Botique Hotel The narrative ties the concept of the buildings, the landscape and the interiors together to make the dramatic story of the evolution of man accessible, the aim being to create a ‘think park’ rather than a ‘theme park’.

The architecture grows out of an understanding of the three million year history of the existence of Hominids in the area and the context of the site - a piece of the highveld with rolling landscapes of veld grass to the north and east and a series of prominent (Witwatersrand) ridges that lie to the south and west.

The buildings emerge from the landscape so that on arrival very little of the lodge can be seen. The entrance forms a cut in the landscape, drawing guests within, much like the entrance to the dolomitic Sterkfontein Caves nearby. This marks the beginning of a narrative of evolution which runs through the entire project.

The original farm dams blocked the natural watercourse, so a decision was taken to invest in the watercourse and rehabilitate the landscape. A tranquil indigenous wetland is the result.

The rooms are partially submerged beneath endemic veld grass roofs to become part of the view of rolling landscape. They are sophisticated caves divided into a lounge area and bedroom area. A raked off-shutter concrete roof opens the space up to the view beyond.

We employed energy-saving thermal mass technology which optimises the interior temperature of the buildings, minimising the need for heating and air-conditioning.

During the construction of the hotel, no rubble was removed from site, and no new ground was introduced. An existing lodge was dismantled and all reusable materials were donated to charity, while non-reusable rubble was used as founding material.

Visit the Forum Homini website

Various images courtesy of Leading Architecture & Design Magazine
Bell Roberts Book 2009 Featured in 10 years + 100 buildings Architecture in a Democratic South Africa.

2006 Activate win a Loerie Award for Forum Homini.
View the entry
2006 Loerie award winner

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