Design manual explained: Part II

In the last newsletter it was explained why Marina Da Gama has a Design Manual and this article will explain the roots of the architectural style that is dictated by the Design Manual. In South Africa where there is a rich and established vernacular style of architecture which stems back to the early settlers to this country. It is appropriate that it is this style which is dictated by the Design Manual rather than some fanciful European style of Architecture which has been adopted on some private estates.

The reason for this choice of architecture being that is pleasing to the eye, can be implemented in a variety of building shapes and the resultant suburb or precinct is lifted above the typical suburban sprawl so often seen in suburbia. It is also a relatively simple style of architecture both in massing of components and the absence of elaborate ornamental detailing. Buildings such as Rhodes Cottage in Muizenberg embody and illustrate this vernacular style. The principal elements are pitched roofs and horizontally proportioned white walls which have windows and doors “punched” into them rather than be coming dominant elements on the façade. The original roofs were pitched at 45 degrees because this is optimum in thatch construction which was the material of choice in the original examples. Thatch was not considered a suitable material for houses in the Marina and, as consequence slightly lower roof pitches are acceptable.

The strong south easterly winds were also considered when making this choice of style as it was easily adapted, by way of large and steep mono-pitch roofs, to be able to deflect the wind upwards. One only needs to stand on Park Island when the wind is blowing and compare the effect the wind is having on Zandvlei with the far calmer state of the water within the Marina. This is achieved by the combination of steep mono-pitch roofs and the intense planting of trees by the developers during the founding of Marina da Gama. For this reason, the Design Manual also covers the planting of verges and the protection of trees, whether on or off an individual property is entrenched in City of Cape Town regulations. Clearly the range of materials available to homeowners and the range of paint colours has increased over the years and the Design Manual has taken these into account. It is also for this reason that the Manual must be a dynamic document that requires to be updated from time to time. Future articles will deal with each element of a house and explain what materials may be used, what colour they may be as well as providing explanation for the rationale behind each of these.

The design Manual can be found via this link:

Marina da Gama Association Executive Committee