Untamed is the result of a collaborative process between a sculptor, writer and an architect. Dylan Lewis the sculptor, and originator of the project, had a strong intuitive idea about the subject Ian McCallum, the writer, discusses in his book, ‘Ecological Intelligence’. Dylan then researched architects who are environmentally conscious and who have collaborated with artists before, and approached Enrico Daffonchio. The conceptual and briefing stages were held as workshops where the central theme of the internal psychological conflict between our rational mind and our repressed wildness was explored.
What makes this project architecturally unique is that the building was created for the pure purpose of communicating an idea or message. The narrative power of architecture is normally secondary to function, if not ignored altogether, so this was an extremely rare opportunity. The message was expressed architecturally by means of shape, materials and light.
The architectural design process began with the relationship between the site and the structure. Given that the site was the Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, which is a World Heritage Site, it was important that the pavilion visually blended into the surroundings. The dominant shape of the building is therefore horizontal without any angles, in order to layer is subtly within the natural backdrop of Kirstenbosch. As it progressed, the plan of the building became informed by the ritual dance of San hunters who follow a spiral-like path in hunting ceremonies. At the centre of the spiral the 'become' the animal that they will hunt the next day. This narrative fitted seamlessly with Dylan's incorporation of skulls into his sculptures, as well as the idea of less distinct boundaries between animal and human nature. The walls and 'living wall' echo this too: the rusted steel wall elicits certain memories of industrial wastelands, while the 'living wall' introduces the idea of nature reclaiming control over the man-made.
In keeping with the overarching philosophy, the entire pavilion structure is 80% recyclable and mostly re-usable in a different location, and all its materials have been thoroughly researched to understand their broader environmental effects of the manufacturing process and use.
CIA Award for Architecture 2011
SAIA Award of Merit 2012
SAIA Award for Excellence 2012
The Outpost Lodge, Kruger National Park
In the most remote part of the Kruger National Park, in a wilderness previously undisturbed by visitors, lies the vast concession awarded to The Outpost as a result of a groundbreaking agreement between the Makuleke people and the South African National Parks Board. In 1969 the apartheid government forcibly removed the Makuleke people from their ancestral land in order to extend the Park to the borders of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In the 1990's, after the return of democracy in South Africa, the Makuleke people instituted a land claim which resulted in the return of the title of the region to the Makuleke people provided that it remains part of the park. The conditions of the agreement stated that the land must remain in pristine condition with the Makuleke people holding a concession on twelve lodges that could be built in accordance with the Parks Environmental Guidelines for limited ecotourism. Private developers were allowed to commission developments that would be built and managed in collaboration with the tribe. The work-force involved with the construction and running of the lodges would come from the tribal community. The Outpost is the first lodge to be built in this vast region.
The lodge consists of twelve freestanding units, a main building with reception, a restaurant and dining and lounge areas, and an outdoor swimming pool.
The main aim of the project was an architecture that would sit subtly in the striking landscape and would provide luxury accommodation and a compelling relationship with nature. On arrival, visitors are confronted by a long wall, which is entered through a small opening. On entry, visitors experience an explosion of view, with 300 kilometers of the Kruger National Park spread out beneath them. The 12 units are scattered along the long, narrow site, with a one kilometer long raised teak walkway connecting them. The walkway also conceals the water, electricity and phone lines. In order to keep the environment undisturbed the buildings are all raised on stilts.
The open-plan units, consisting of a bedroom, sitting room and bathroom, have been designed to maximise their connection with the natural surroundings & views. Most of the exterior walls are retractable creating a situation where the separation between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ does not exist. The orientation and positioning of the units ensure that privacy is maintained despite the transparent nature of the design. Cooling is achieved by an environmentally sustainable water based air-conditioning system.
The design and construction techniques used at The Outpost had to be tailored to the reality of an unskilled work crew from the Makuleke tribe and the remoteness of the site. Materials were prefabricated in Johannesburg and transferred to the site. The limited material selection consisted of local timber (teak and meranti), concrete, steel members, pre-painted corrugated-steel sheeting concrete floors sealed with beeswax polish. Workers were trained on site.
Wallpaper Magazine Best Safari Lodge 2003
Pavilion, Cape Town / Florence / London
The idea is to create an multi-leveled experiential route within a multi-layered pod, driving the viewer to experience Dylan Lewis’ art pieces in an intimate and ethereal manner. The movement through the space suggests a singular but progressive path that allows the art pieces to be experienced in a desired order or its reverse, making time a key theme within the pavilion's spatial arrangement.
A reflection pond and raised access further enhances a unique spatial experience driven by natural connections (water, earth, sky) and our place within these connections.
The pavilion will be located in Kirstenbosch, and has been proposed for the Natural History Museum in London, and Palazzo Pitti in Florence.
The proposed resort is located in the natural landscape of Tanzania in a prime position overlooking Lake Manyara. The brief was to design a holiday resort that provides a unique and cultural experience of both relaxation and entertainment.
The design concept derives from, and is a blend of, the diverse cultures of Tanzania, that being the indigenous Masai culture, the Swahili coast, colonial influences, and finally the infinite elements of the natural environment.
The architectural language originates from the shape of a leaf, which lead to organic yet structured building forms that utilise local materials and craftsmanship. The result is a natural yet contemporary architectural design that is organic and raw, while being luxurious and sophisticated.
The programmatic spatial order of the resort is arranged such that visitors are guided through a unique experience from beginning to end. Visitors arrive at the arrival square and enter into the reception area. Leading off the reception are various entertainment, recreational, and relaxation spaces.
The entertainment space includes a bar and pool, a discotheque, a variety of restaurants, and a circus, as well as a dedicated children’s entertainment area.
The recreational space includes a wide selection of sports and outdoor activities.
The relaxation space is specifically designed to create a place of passive activity and enjoyment through the use of a luxurious spa, gym, and calm pool.
Accommodation units range from clustered arrangements to private tented camps.