Architecture Fabrik

Architecture Fabrik


Shared by two families with young children, the studio was conceived as a multi-purpose space, able to adapt to the changing needs of its occupants. Located in an established residential suburb close to schools, shops and amenities, the area is fragmented by a mixed-use ‘transition’ zoning.  This presented an opportunity to design a building that could complement the shared main dwelling and serve many functions over its life.

There is no commute to work in the mornings and parents can walk their children to and from school. During the week the studio is a place to work. On weekends it is a place to entertain friends over coffee while the kids play on the brick and gravel driveway. When the space is eventually outgrown, the studio can become a guest cottage, later a three bedroom dwelling (with minor alterations), or much later still a home for grandparents and a separate live-in career.

Conceptually, designed around a second hand coffee machine (a trade for unpaid fees from a client) and reclaimed electrical substation shutters salvaged from Atomic Demolishers. Practically, it had to be cheap (less than R6000/m2), low maintenance, functional and be built within four months.  Cost driven, finishes are raw and industrial but long-term sustainability uncompromised. Clay stock bricks used on the driveway will age and weather, crisp edges will erode but without compromising long-term functionality. The Mariannhill Monastery provided inspiration for the expressed Flemish bond to add pattern and texture to the potentially homogeneous face brick.  The shutters became less recycled chic, but an integral component coupled with low-e and double glazing to comply with energy regulations while maximizing comfort and performance. Rainwater is harvested for the indigenous landscape. 

Rather than face the road, the building was rotated to face north-northwest to maximize natural light, and the extents of the site with a long veranda and the biggest overhang possible using standard laminated beams to provide sun shading.

So the experiment continues; that the studio’s functions can align with and support the ever changing needs of family life.


KZN, South Africa
DDR & Associates
Mnandi Indigenous Landscapes
Sirkar Construction
Roger Jardine