Gordon Hart explains the MDGA Design Manual

To all our members …

Gordon Hart, resident architect and Archcom member will be writing a series of articles detailing the purpose and application of the Marina da Gama Design Manual. He will explain what powers the Design Manual affords Archcom and Excom and why the Marina even has a design manual. This will answer many questions around standards and implementation of the Design Manual, including the colour of exterior walls.

The design Manual can be found via this link: https://mdga.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Design-Manual-MDGA-Approved-AGM-21Jun2022.pdf

Why does Marina da Gama have a design manual?

Marina da Gama was conceived and developed by Anglo American Properties and the Marina as it exists today is only a minor part of what was originally envisaged.

In this conception was an understanding of the magnitude of building activity that would ensue, the sensitivity of the environment due to its proximity to nature areas as well as the impact that wind could have on the new suburb which were one side of the reason for controls being put in place and the desire to create an area where cohesive architecture added to the ambiance and value of property on the other.

For all these reasons they chose that, as part of the motivation to Council to rezone and sub-divide the land, all buildings within the Marina would be built in a particular architectural style that was appropriate to the environment and could be used to address the impact of wind.

To this end a very well thought through Design Manual accompanied the application to Council. This was approved and it became a condition of approval of the sub-division that an Association of Homeowners be formed and that they be entrusted with ensuring that the buildings built in the Marina complied with this Design Manual.

This right is still entrenched today insofar as compulsory membership of the MDGA is written to every title deed and the MDGA administrative committees, namely EXCOM and ARCHCOM have the responsibility of ensuring that the Design Manual is complied with.

Marina da Gama is also recognised as a special overlay area withing the Development Management Scheme of the City of Cape Town where compliance with the Design Manual is required and where special permission has to be sought to build or alter a building in the Marina.

The compliance of an application can only be evaluated in terms of the conditions set down in the Design Manual.

The major features that are entrenched in the Design Manual are the white walls, the black roofs, the opportunity for adding colour to elements such as windows and doors, design of boundary walls and other elements.

The Design Manual also contains regulations regarding elements such as verges, parking, aerials, solar panels & “Wendy Houses”.

All of these are there as “good housekeeping” and the intent of the Design Manual is to maintain the Marina as a homogenous, tidy and orderly suburb.

In a series of forthcoming articles, I will go through the document, outlining the various requirements of the Design Manual, the reason for their existence and how they should be implemented.

Marina da Gama Association Executive Committee