Urbain McGee Architecture & Design, Cape Town

11 Struben Road

Works:Residential Alteration and Additions
Location:Cape Town
Project Budget:R5 000 000.00
Status:Completed 2015
Principle Agent:Urbain McGee Architecture and Design
Contractor:Go Create Projects
Structural Engineer:Hulme & Associates
Quantity Surveyor:Hope and Warren
Residential Alteration and Additions
Cape Town
Project Budget:
R5 000 000.00
Completed 2015
Principle Agent:
Urbain McGee Architecture and Design
Go Create Projects
Structural Engineer:
Hulme & Associates
Quantity Surveyor:
Hope and Warren

Located in the Cape Town suburb of Claremont this 1960’s home was well orientated on site, however it failed to respond successfully to its panoramic views of the Table Mountain National Park.

Motivated through the brief and context, the project’s principle objectives where to strengthen the visual experience of the mountain from within the home, devise a tectonic that expressed the intersection of old and new and to re-purpose existing materials where possible.

The existing linear layout of the home was divided into two wings. The western wing, comprising of bedrooms and bathrooms, remained relatively intact with only minor spatial interventions.


1. entrance

2. lounge

3. dining

4. kitchen

5. scullery

6. courtyard

7. patio

8. bedroom

9. bathroom

10. dressing room

11. garden

12. pool


13. study

14. family room

15. bathroom

16. store

17. roof garden

The eastern wing was extensively remodelled. The existing roof was removed and a first floor was introduced. The idea of using a concrete plain as a floor, a ceiling, a roof and a joint emerged. This concrete slab evolved into a device that expressed the intersection between old and new. The original timber trusses were removed from the eastern wing and re-purposed to create the shuttering for this slab. A smooth faced boarding was used to create the polished soffits on the interior.

Minimal alterations had occurred throughout the building prior to the renovation. Much of the original fabric was found in a good condition. Rhodesian teak parquet floors were installed throughout the house. These were lifted and re-laid within the eastern wing. The teak windows and doors were all re-allocated to the western wing. The exterior pavers where re-used for driveways and forecourts.

The new material palette focused on texture rather than colour, using smooth and rough off-shutter concrete with stippled plaster and bagged brickwork. It remained relatively muted against the original, lively parquet, chequered terrazzo tiles, and slasto floors.

The upper wing took full advantage of the surrounding views of the Table Mountain National Park by incorporating large openings to frame these vistas. The double pitch form echoed the original roof and played with the volumes to accentuate the angular forms.

Photographs: Tremayne Ward-Smith & Nicole Fraser