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Durban Point 2007

South African Institute of Architects Merit Award
KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Architecture Merit Award 2007.
CITATION (from the KZNIA Jury)


This ensemble of back to back verandahed row-houses with picturesque chimneys and double-storey outbuildings, was built for dockworkers during the period 1895 -1907, but long discarded and vandalized. Within the context of the redevelopment of the Point, the dividing street, Patterson Street, was recreated as an arm to the canal system.

In the regeneration, the units were reconfigured to open up the ground floor and promote continuity between the road and backspaces; and on the upper floor to provide three bedrooms and two bathrooms. However, regeneration without two dedicated secure parking spaces per unit was unthinkable. Thus dawned the possibility of creating a parking basement within the confines of the backyard space. Over this, the outbuildings were reconstituted, as garden and entertainment facilities.

In the restoration, the corrugated roof sheeting was replaced by aluminium; sliding sashes and joinery were replicated; and missing cast iron elements substituted in aluminium. This unique cluster of Victorian row-houses had long been neglected. Within a vision of history as a continuous, changing process, the architects repaired the units and made them sound, reinstated lost details, and acknowledged their interventions by leaving 'footprints' of the former spaces. While viability involved the removal of the outbuildings and the incorporation of a parking basement, the ensemble was given new life in a way, which celebrates the past. The jury was impressed by the restraint exercised in the regeneration of this heritage streetscape of row-houses.