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Q&A WITH INSITE ARCHITECTS DIRECTOR: Thèlouise Van Der Merwe

Thèlouise worked on the Richfield Lifestyle Estate, Knight Court & Phoenix Villas developments for Mobus Property.

Q&A WITH INSITE ARCHITECTS DIRECTOR: Thèlouise Van Der Merwe

Thèlouise graduated from the University of the Free State, in Johannesburg South Africa, with an M.Arch(Prof) degree in 2010. She is a registered architect with SACAP as a professional architect. She has gained experience in residential, retail and commercial buildings. Thèlouise is an enthusiastic and compassionate designer and enjoys engaging with clients and understanding the essence of the relationship between building and environment. She worked on the Richfield Lifestyle Estate, Knight Court and Phoenix Villas developments for Mobus Property.

Q: Tell us a bit about you — what you do, what your passions are, where you live/work, how you got to this point in your career?
A: I am a creative person and love how architecture evolves from a conceptual idea into something tangible. The manifestation of the process fascinates and excites me. I live and work in Cape Town and enjoy the diversity of architectural design as each day is different with design opportunities in the smallest details.

Q: What is your design process like? Where do you gather your inspiration and what prepares you for creating an architectural design?
A: The design process differs from project to project but the process typically starts with a design concept relevant to the project and brief, it can be something abstract or practical. The concept is then tested on the specific site. A clear brief and project description helps capture the magic of a design and the development of a successful concept.

Q: Can you remember the first space that really made an impact on you?
A: An abandoned railway line in Manhattan New York was revived into an elevated public park. The revival of unused, useless space into something beautiful is what makes architecture such a thrill.

Q: Which designers, architects or interior designers (living or dead) do you admire and why?
A: UK practice Steyn Studio and South African studio TV3 architects designed a chapel on a wine farm in Cape Town. The sculptural quality of the design is breath taking.
– Santiago Calatrava – his ability to combine sculptural beauty with intricate design techniques.
– Gavin Maddock Design studio – simplistic, elegant residential design.
– Frank Lloyd Wright – Elegant design technique of linking internal and external spaces.

Q: What has been your career highlight to date, and what do you still dream to achieve?
A: Winning a photography competition as a student for an architectural photograph captured. Being part of the team winning the Architectural category in the International Property Awards in 2016.

Q: How would you describe your own home?
A: Eclectic, warm and inviting.

Q: Which of the Mobus Property Developments, that you have worked on, is your favourite and why?
A: Richfield Lifestyle Estate – Richfield Lifestyle Estate’s ethos encompasses the credo of the DENKYEM “crocodile” as a West African symbol of adaptability –
The crocodile lives in the water, yet breathes the air, demonstrating an ability to adapt to circumstances. Life in Richfield encourages adaptability to the environment and the architectural response to the surrounding by the river creates interactive environmental living spaces. This adaptability concept is concretized in the modulated stand system of adaptability of the unit types to the specific need of the end user. A similar project in Kumasi was cited as a development that had greening and planning principles that worked well. The client expressed a vision to incorporate Ghanaian traditions (imagery) with a more modern built form aesthetic

Q: What do you believe are the benefits of being and architect in Africa?
A: Africa has such a unique climate and rich identity. We have the best of both worlds, a user friendly climate, African architecture has the opportunity to respond positively to wonderful climate conditions and embrace the identity.

Q: Richfield Lifestyle Estate is now offering potential homeowners the option to build their own homes in the estate. What are some of the benefits of building your own home?
A: Each homeowner has a specific expectation and sometimes design requirement. Richfield has many unit options for a homeowner to choose from.

Q: What advice would you give first time homeowners looking to build their own home?
A: It is also important to bear in mind the resale value of your home if you were ever to sell the property. For example, will a swimming pool add to the value of your home and can you recoup the costs involved in taking on such a venture?

Q: What was your inspiration for each of the Mobus Property developments you designed?
A: As mentioned previously Richfield Estate was inspired by community living and providing a haven outside the city for homeowners to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends from the comfort of their homes.

Q: What’s the best lesson being an architect has taught you?
A: The magic of architecture lies in the details.

Looking for the ideal location to build your new home? Try Richfield Lifestyle Estate. We now have lots available allowing you to construct your dream home in our exclusive lifestyle estate. Contact Mobus for more information today.

Contact Mobus Property for more information.

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