The 27 ha property overlooks the Knysna Lagoon towards the North, with the Outeniqua and the Swart Berg
Mountain ranges in the distance. It is set within a pristine natural dune fynbos conservancy on the Western Heads.
The views are spectacular where each day there is a magnificent display of ever-changing sunrises and sunsets
and everything between. The Knysna Lagoon is also constantly displaying her beauty as the mist rolls, and tides
rise and fall.
On 07 June 2017 the Wild Fires in the Knysna area took the original house on the property away, but it could
never take the view away. It was a long and hard walk to process the loss and to get to a stage where the owners
could get together their resources, plan and re-build a new home to replace the devastating loss.
The Architectural Brief
The owners commissioned Andre Vercueil a local Knysna architect (who is also one of the share holders) to
design a new house on the 27ha property. The opportunity now arose to plan the home in a slightly different
location to optimize the views a little better. The brief was to be bold with a contemporary steel framed structure,
lots of glass towards the views, a floating structure above the ground level, to set the home on deep pillars and
foundations to prevent structural damage by the endangered dune moles, to do something unconventional, exploit
the views and the northern aspect, to live out towards the north and the view, to blend in with the pristine
endangered dune fynbos and to plan for a future ‘off the grid’ installation. A further requirement was to plan and
execute the works within a budget of 2,1mil, which is what the insurance paid out for the loss on the original
The structural framing
The project has always been envisaged in steel for a number of reasons – to be light, daring and unconventional,
faster in construction time, simplistic and minimalistic.
The main structure (floor beams and supporting columns) are made up of 203mm x 133mm I-beams, with 5.8mm
webs and 7.8mm flanges – these sections were selected to match the structural capabilities as well as the
thickness of walls to comply with the required thermal properties together with the drywall construction. The
corners were made up in 120mm x 120mm equal angles with base plates to bolt on to the I-Beams. The steel suppler managed to find some 130mm x 130mm x 3mm square tubing (which the which were left over from another project as these are not standard), which were used for additional supporting columns. The staircases were made up of 200mm x 75mm flanges. The window and door surrounds, as well as the sloped angles were made up in 125mm x 75mm x 3mm lipped channels.
The wall cladding was made up of 12mm Nutec high density cladding board against treated S.A.Pine wall framing with soft joints, with Knauff insulation wool. The roof cladding was made up of Colorplus 0.47 AZ200 Ultima corrugated roof sheeting, apex flashings, side wall flashings and headwall flashings on Climasential foil, on treated 76 x 50 S.A.Pine purlins, with Knauff insulation wool.
The complexity of the design necessitated the utilization of a 3D design software package to assure that the components are manufactured to exact tolerances and that all holes for screws, bolts, conduiting, etc. are drilled before the beams are galvanized. The manufacturer advised the architects that they have never before had such a unique and complex design to contend with. Several hundred shop-drawings were prepared for the manufacturing process. Needless to say there were some small errors in the design and manufacturing process, but fortunately some amendments could easily be done on site. There were at least two beams which had to be sent back to the factory for more serious amendments. During the construction phase, it was established that there was too much flex/bounce in the upper balcony, which necessitated the additional installation of a small steel column and cross bracing in the external wall.
How does this project demonstrate the benefits of steel as a material?
Steel construction had obvious benefits in construction – longer spans, slim designs, speed of erection, pre-fabrication precision, sustainability, flexibility, strength, resilience, durability, reduced cost and a worthy investment. This project demonstrates all the benefits of steel construction. The most obvious in this project is the unique character, the slim lines of a simplistic and minimalistic layout, the airy and light floating appearance of the structure disappearing in the landscape. Everyone exposed to the project acclaimed the uniqueness of the design and the simplicity in its expression despite the complexity of the design and manufacturing process.
How did the project team work together?
It was such a pleasure to see how the engineer, the steel manufacturer, the electrician, the plumber, the main contractor and all the artisans and all the labourers worked with pride on this project because it was so unique and ‘out of the box’. The contractor eagerly wanted to take on this challenge, but unfortunately bit off more than he could chew towards the end, which resulted in some challenges which the client had to take on in finding the right people to do the finishing touches.
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
|Forever View Pres C.R Swart Drive Portion 47/216, Uitzicht, Brenton, Knysna
|Google Maps link|
|Completion date of steelwork||July 2018|
|Completion date of full project||May 2019|
|Tonnage and steel profiles used||12.62 tonnes 130x130x3-SHS Columns 203x133x25 UB Rafters 200×75-PFC Rafters 125×65 CFLC Purlins|
|Project Team Role||Company|
|Nominator||Andre Vercueil Consulting Architects cc|
|Client/ Developer||The De Graaf Testamentary Trust|
|Architect||Andre Vercueil Consulting Architects cc|
|Structural Engineer||DHA Project Managers Structural & Civil Engineers|
|Engineer||DHA Project Managers Structural & Civil Engineers|
|Main Contractor||Elcoserv Projects cc|
|Steelwork Contractor||JLMA Engineering|
|Steel Erector||JLMA Engineering|
|Cladding Manufacturer||Global Roofing Solutions – A division of Consolidated Steel Industries (Pty) Ltd|
|Cladding Supplier||Mossel Bay Roofing|
|Cladding Contractor||Bitou Roofing & Renovations|
|Corrosion Protection||SAFAL Steel|
|Galvanising||South Cape Galvanizing (PTY) LTD|
|Corrosion Protection||JLMA Engineering|
|Paintwork Contractor||Davco Painting|
|Photographer, Photo competition||A&M Photography & Video Prod.|
|Photographer, Other submitted images||A&M Photography & Video Prod.|
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.
|CLADDING (If applicable)|
|Completion date of cladding||May 2019|
|Cladding profile/ type used||Colorplus Colorplus 0.47 AZ200 Ultima corrugated roof sheeting|
|Cladding area coverage||400m2|
|Cladding tonnage||Not available|