The Boers were hardworking farmers and committed savers, and they could practically survive on a single drop of water for weeks. It is this close-to-the-land ethos that studioMAS is re-inventing with their tidy retirement village De Land, which will be built on re-zoned farmland just outside of Potchefstroom. Like the Forum Homini boutique hotel featured here previously, this design incorporates many of the green techniques available to South African architects, including solar-heated water and passive design.
Taking “New-Urbanism” to heart, studioMAS has designed a village that combines day-to-day green living with work and play. Without compromising privacy or security, De Land’s numerous green-lined paths and open spaces encourage community engagement and good health.
Most of the landscaping comprises indigenous plant species that require very little water, appropriate for a water-scarce site, while harvested rainwater is channeled to retention ponds. Although some are left unpaved, the majority of streets are maintained with permeable pavers.
The pedestrian-friendly village is also within walking distance of numerous amenities and optional activities – enough to satisfy a broad range of interests and discourage car traffic in one fell swoop. And for the more shy resident, private gardens offer a peaceful respite from nosey neighbors.
Most of the building materials will be sourced locally and kept simple, with masonry walls and zinc roofs, and solar-heated geysers will keep energy costs relatively low. North and northeast-facing buildings will also contribute to a passive cooling effect. Finally, though we take this for granted in developed countries, village-wide high speed internet connectivity will enable working-age residents to stay home and avoid the carbon-spewing commute.