The Country Club of Johannesburg is an old and proud pillar of Johannesburg community life. The club has a rich heritage and history of change and renewal and in this spirit, the current leadership saw fit to improve the entertainment offering. Expanding the lovely terrace area functionality by covering, creates a year round open outside sheltered mecca for functions and relaxing meals. The clients briefed Rebel Base collective, dynamic architects with a flair for design, safe in the knowledge that they would imagine a space that tips a hat to the past while peering into the future.


Rebel Base, known for challenging the status quo in design, approached the project with the expectation of satisfying all practical needs whilst relishing the challenges of structural and social heritage. Their undulating roof responds to the desire to create a light, voluminous yet intimate space. It hovers above the existing art-deco handrail, a treasure to be retained. The rounded perforated-ceiling surface provides optimal acoustic performance, reflecting sound in different directions thus minimising direct reverberation.

The clear story windows allow light into the open space whilst creating framed views to the sky and into the canopy of the grand old oak tree, which is further celebrated through a semi-circular cut out in the eastern-most vault.  The soft tapered profile of the vaults allows the building roofline to merge into the sky and carries the eye out to the northern forest. The roof effortlessly contributes to the architectural form finding and is tied to the existing club with a material palette of steel, concrete (in various forms and finishes), recycled clay paving and glass that have been intricately detailed to craft something elegant, simple and timeless whilst still being honest and raw. All the components result in a bold yet soft structure which nods to the old Art-deco extension of the restaurant’s interior, unfolds itself into the hero oak tree and the rolling lawns whilst the weighty utilitarian base of the reflecting and trickling water feature allows the roof to fly. The pavilion acknowledges the club’s legacy whilst unreservedly launching it with a rebellious hovering time machine into the future.

Early meetings between architect and engineer, Hull Consulting, morphed into brainstorming sessions on achieving the desired clean curved lines within the practical considerations of available materials and skills. No doubt NASA engineers would have looked to exotic composite materials for the elliptical sectioned main beams, but this was to be built on a far tighter budget. Concrete, while being capable of providing the necessary shape was excluded due to cost and weight, half the structure being required to be supported on existing building foundations. In any case, why build a shutter to mould a pourable material, when the negative of the shutter constitutes your finished structure anyway. Plywood, not practical, fibre glass, not economical, time and time again, steel showed itself to be the only viable alternative. The final structural system evolved into unique custom formed stiffened curved box section main elements, supporting curved I beam and lipped channel purlin vaulted arched roof segments. The arches kick into concrete outside edge columns cantilevering out of concrete foundations. As an added bonus, thin walled steel box sections allowed for removing an internal line of columns, freeing up the interior to more table layout options.

The design, being atypical and complex in that the main structural elements are thin walled nonstandard curved box sections, required some initial effort, but with the basic structural principals established, the true challenge lay in the intricate structural detailing. Immediately after the tender was awarded to the main contractor, Bartlett Construction, they appointed Quicksilva Structures Africa to fabricate and erect the steelwork. Subsequent design meetings were expanded to include input from Quicksilva’s structural detaining and erecting teams. By burning the midnight oil, the detailers married all considerations, resulting in a structure that was able to be fabricated, transported and erected within tight timelines and to budget. Quicksilva’s brief included all curved roof sheets, perforated ceiling panels and custom window frames: if its steel you see, they did it.

In the end, only steel could have met all the design, manufacture and erectability requirements, “finished and klaar”, as some would say.

Project motivation editorials are provided by the project nominator. If any technical details, company names or product names are incorrect, please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected

Physical address of the project Street Address
1 Napier Rd, Auckland Park,
Google Maps link’59.0%22S+28%C2%B000’46.3%22E/@-26.1830518,28.0123018,19z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m6!3m5!1s0x0:0x0!7e2!8m2!3d-26.1830531!4d28.0128492?hl=en
Completion date of steelwork End Nov 2019
Completion date of full project Jan 2020
Tonnage and steel profiles used Aprox 30 ton, IPE100, 219CHS, plate hollow custom beams
CLADDING (If applicable)
Completion date of cladding Jan 2020
Cladding profile/ type used Cranked corrugated chromadek sheets, perforated plate ceiling
Cladding area coverage 550 sqr meters
Cladding tonnage About 6 tons

If you were a part of this project, and your company details are incorrect or missing – please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.