River Park Housing Project

As a consequence of the new political dispensation in 1994, the Johannesburg City Council embarked on a project to construct “top structures” (buildings) on already proclaimed and serviced land designated for housing. This particular development was called River Park and was located just across a tributary of the Jukskei River from the “established” white suburban area of Lombardy East and on the east bank of the river opposite Alexandra, a traditionally black township.
In the first phase of the proposed 700 family scheme, 150 units were built and occupied.

The houses were double storey, well orientated and provided good quality exterior space in the landscape whilst contributing to an active streetscape. Maximum internal volume was achieved within the limited budget constraints, giving a sense of lightness and scale. The proposal demonstrates that low-cost, high-density housing can be built with sensitivity to good design.

Energy Considerations when Designing your Home

In most homes in South Africa today our water is heated by electrically operated geysers, but as the cost of electricity is very high, this method of water heating can turn out to be very expensive. However due to the increased technology in our world today, alternative methods of water heating are available. These methods are of great benefit in helping to reduce the high cost of electricity in the home.

We find there are two main methods available to us, the solar water heating panels and heat pumps. GoGreenguys are the professional architectural choice when looking for a supplier of a solar geyser Cape Town.

In order to understand these two methods more clearly, here is a comparison between the two.

  1. Solar Water Heating Panels.

This method of water heating makes use of radiation from the sun in order to produce heat. With this method the size of the panel will regulate the amount of energy that can be accumulated from the sun and has no need of electricity. This makes it a very cost effective method of water heating. With this in mind however, if the panels are not large enough, the water will still need the electrical element to heat the water to its desired temperature. This will need to be done throughout the day, at night or during overcast or cloudy weather. Unfortunately most of the solar panels installed in South Africa are not large enough to produce the required energy needed to heat the average size geyser (150 – 200 L) to 60° on a continual basis. This method only allows a saving of 50% or less on the total average household electricity bill.

  1. Heat Pump

This method of water heating makes use of a small amount of electricity in order to produce a large amount of energy from the surrounding air. The Heat Pump produces 3 to 4 times the energy compared to the electricity it uses. This method makes use of a very small amount of sun light and can therefore produce the required amount of energy needed. This happens day or night and irrespective of the weather conditions. This heating method allows a saving of 75% on the total average household electricity bill.

Most people are not sure which one is right for their particular circumstances. In order to make the choice easier we will list both advantages and disadvantages of both methods.

Advantages of Solar Water Heating Panels

  • The Solar Panel is mounted on the roof and does not require any electricity to produce the energy needed to heat the water. Solar Pool Heating Cape Town is becoming increasingly popular in order to maximize the usage of the swimming pool during the winter months.
  • The Solar Panels tend to have a longer warranty period than Heat Pumps.
  • The Solar Panels tend to have a longer lifespan than the Heat Pumps.
  • The water temperature produced by the Solar Panels is higher than the Heat Pumps and on very hot days can even cause the water to boil.

Advantages of Heat Pumps

  • The initial cost of the Heat Pump is a lot less than the Solar Panels.
  • The time taken to heat the water is much less than that of the Solar Panel
  • The installation of the Heat Pump is much easier than the Solar Panel as it does not require involved plumbing work.
  • The installation of the Heat Pump does not take place on the roof. It can be done anywhere outside on the walls of the building, as long as it faces North, West or South.
  • As the Heat Pump does not rely on the sun to produce its energy it can be effective day and night and during rain and overcast weather conditions.


Disadvantages of Solar Water Heating Panels

  • The initial costs of the Solar Panel are much higher than that of the Heat Pump.
  • The time taken to heat the water is much longer than that of the Heat Pump.
  • The appearance of the Solar Panels on the roof is unattractive.
  • As the Solar Panel relies on the sun, when the weather is overcast or raining, as well as during the night, the system still requires the use of the electric element.
  • The Solar Panels need regular maintenance.

Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

  • If the water quality is not right i.e. the water is too hard, then the suppliers will not grant a warranty period for the system.
  • When the weather is cold as in our winters, then the Heat Pump is not as effective as the Solar Panels.
  • The Heat Pump maintenance needs to be more regular than the Solar Panels as it has various moving parts that need to be replaced at regular intervals.
  • The Solar Panels tend to have a longer lifecycle than the Heat Pumps.
  • The Heat Pumps rely completely on electricity to produce their energy for water heating.
  • The Heat Pump tends to be noisy.
  • The water temperature produced by the Heat Pump is not as high as that of the Solar Panel.

Finally the choice between the Heat Pump and the Solar Water Heating Panel will largely depend on the cost. Whatever choice you make, the important consideration must be to reduce your homes electricity bill. It is imperative that architects and home owners take energy saving methods and solutions into consideration when designing a new home.

Fibreglass uses for Building and Architecture

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the manufacturing of fibreglass moulds ? The first and most common thing that would come to mind is all the things that can go wrong from the actual process of manufacturing fiberglass. The cracks, accidents, being cut and every other defect you can think of right? Yes. It is common that some people may be terrified of glass, I know I certainly am. Most architects will require the services of a professional fibreglass product manufacturer at some time or another in their architecture career.

However, that is not the precise approach to have towards the manufacture of fibreglass. The manufacture of fibreglass consists of many stages before it comes out as that shiny beautiful item. Fibreglass is no ordinary glass; it is quite unique in actual fact. Although it is not as a strong as the other fibers, it does have an element of strength in it.

With almost every product being made from fibreglass, it is important to know which products exactly are manufactured from this kind of reinforced plastic material:

Fibreglass moulds


  • Aircraft – With a machine that is so big and strong, it comes as no surprise that it comprises of some elements of fiberglass. Aircrafts were built as means of transport to arrive quicker and safer to your desired destination.
  • Boat – Just like an aircraft, a boat is also another method of transportation. Fibreglass is incorporated in the production of boats. No wonder the ride is so breathtaking by the sea!
  • Bathtubs ­– All of these great things seem to have some element or another of fibreglass in them. Bath tubs are also made from fibreglass. Bathtubs are quite strong; they don’t break easily if not at all. All the materials that are put together to make a bath tub are made so that you never have to worry about replacing your bath tub. Bathtubs are extremely common fibreglass products actually and quite often architects are required to arrange the design of custom items.
  • Storage tanks – There are some storage tanks that are made of fibreglass. Storage tanks are made to complement whatever needs to be stored inside them. Certain steel tanks are made to store chemicals in them and this is done to avoid exposure to the sun amongst other things.
  • Roofing – Some ceilings are made with fibreglass. The light weight effect of fibreglass plays a role as to why fibreglass is preferred. The most common reason is that wood is heavier to lift and build with as compared to roofing that is made from the light weight material of fibreglass.
  • Hammers and Axes – You might not want to get in the bad books of a person carrying a hammer and axe. They are dangerous weapons but also helping tools for building, hiking and camping. Fibreglass is produced into very fine materials particles that always leave a shiny effect afterwards. If you look closely to a hammer or axe, you will find that there are always shiny particles in the weapons. Shiny or not, they pose as a destruction mechanism so it is always advisable to keep away from children.
  • Swimming pools – Swimming pools are made similarly to bath tubs. The only difference is that a bath tub is occasionally smaller unless it is a Jacuzzi compared to a swimming pool. Swimming pools are made of fibreglass and that is probably the reason why we have some excellent swimmers in Cape Town.

Another advantage of fiberglass is how cost effective it is compared to carbon fiber. Fibreglass is cheap and that is why most companies prefer to put it as part of their manufacturing process. As cheap as it may be, fibreglass in correlation with other materials have made some great products and equipment’s.

Fascinating Zanzibar Architecture

I recently had the opportunity to take a much needed break from work. I decided on Zanzibar, a majestic island, in close proximity to the island of Tanzania in East Africa. Zanzibar is renowned for their magnificent beaches. It gives the very best of what the Indian Ocean has to offer. I used a fantastic local company called Discover Zanzibar to arrange my Zanzibar accommodation. Although there are loads of things to do in Zanzibar from lazing around on the white washed beaches to an array of water activities, I nevertheless spent most of my time studying the local architecture and its influences.

Cheetah’s Rock

At Cheetah’s Rock you are guaranteed to get up close and personal with the wildlife creatures which enables you to interact with them on a personal level. You are able to get up close to various wildlife animals including a Zebra, White Lion, Cheetah, Hyena, Lemur and even a Bush Baby. The tour includes educating guests on how the animals are trained. The guests can then feed and touch the animals, all except the White Lion for safety reasons.

Nungwi Beach

Nungwi Beach Hotel is a beach and spa resort overlooking the majestic Indian Ocean. The resort offers little thatched beach huts situated beneath soft white sand. Surrounded by an array of tropical greenery. This beautiful resort is laden with palm trees giving you the feeling and experience of a true tropical paradise. Snorkelling and scuba diving is a must if you would like to experience the beautiful creatures beneath the turquoise sea.

Zanzibar food & spice tour

The Zanzibar food and spice tour is a lovely way to get to know the indigenous people of Zanzibar. It is also a great way to experience their culture, customs, and beliefs. Spices form a very important role in the people of Zanzibar’s life. They incorporate spices such as cinnamon, cloves to name a few not just in their food, but for many other things as well, such as using it for health purposes. Experience first-hand how these herbs and spices are grown and farmed. You can even taste, feel and smell the spices.

Stone Town

Stone Town is the hustle and bustle of Zanzibar. Recently declared a World Heritage Site. The streets are narrow and filled with crowds of people selling various items. This historic piece of Zanzibar has recently been restored to what it once looked like many years ago. From an architect’s perspective, Stone Town is host to some of the most interesting hotels in Zanzibar .

Prison Island

This was previously a prison for the slaves of Zanzibar. It was also used as a quarantine base. It has now been turned into a traveller’s paradise. This is now the home for the giant tortoises of Zanzibar. You are able to feed these animals. A walk through the leafy forests will give you a variety of species of birds, and other winged creatures. There are snorkelling activities too, for those interested in the marine life below the beautiful Zanzibar sea. Drinks and a meal on the beach side restaurant are just a few of the activities you can do on Prison Island.

House of Wonders Museum

The House of Wonders Museum is an extraordinary way to learn about the history of Swahili. The museum gets its name from being the first to get electricity and the first to entertain an elevator. This was once the lavish home to Sultan Barghash. It now hosts a variety of entertaining objects such as a vintage car and even a sailing boat. Walking through this museum is like taking a walk back into time.

Dolphin Spotting

The island of Zanzibar is the perfect location for dolphin spotting. There are no shortages of these majestic creatures which can be found in the shallow water along the coast. You can see both humpback as well as bottle-nose dolphins. There are tours offered which enables you to swim with these beautiful creatures.

House Kennedy

The House is situated in a remarkable setting overlooking a beautiful stretch of unspoilt forested coast. A vertical forest of timber columns extends from the steeply sloping ground to support a series of raised wooden decks facing the Indian Ocean.

A cluster of tiled mono-pitched roofs clearly articulates the volume of each space. The exposed roof structure reinforces the strong Ndebele inspired diagonal geometry heightening the drama of the views to the ocean. The interior fragments at the periphery to incorporate a fringe of external decks, dissolving the boundary between inside and out.

The living area is treated as a single volume, the roof sloping to create space for bed deck mezzanines, allowing for many combinations of sleeping arrangements. Subtle changes in levels of the floors and ceilings, ensures that spaces are well defined yet have a strong vertical and horizontal continuity.

The house creates a unique environment that reconciles abstract architectural ideas with the need for ordinary, everyday living.

house kennedy