Cintsa Beach Floor Sketch

cintsa beach eco retreat

cintsa bay, wild coast

Project in Progress

The clients live in New York but in spectacular contrast have roots with Cintsa Bay on the Wild Coast of South Africa. The brief called for a semi-permanent place of refuge with a deep connection to the untamed landscape. The site is highly sensitive and is made up of steep, undulating, impenetrable dune forest – 35 meters above sea level. It is one of only seven small plots situated on 17 hectares of private beach reserve, ensuring that less than 3% of the estate is developed. The site is remote and only accessible by foot; elevated boardwalks will eventually link the seven bungalows of Cintsa Beach Eco Retreat, which will then be accessible by golf cart. Three indigenous Milkwood trees were identified and protected as a priority. The remote site poses many challenges in that the topography, approach, ocean views, solar orientation and strong summer winds are all conflicting with one another. Addressing these criteria is the driving force behind every decision. High on the agenda is that the design is energy-efficient, through the use of passive elements in the building which envelope to ensure human comfort throughout the seasons. Orientation, solar power, shading devices, wind power, natural cross ventilation, thermal massing, insulation and harvesting rainwater are some of the passive design elements incorporated into the design, not as an add on but rather forming the bones of the structure so that these elements are on display, thus making the building very legible in terms of its energy efficiency. On approach, two rammed earth walls perpendicular to each other disguise the fact that the entire building is on stilts. Where these walls intersect, one ascends a floating staircase where on arrival, the dramatic ocean view is held back in an attempt to slow the release of experiences. Here, Cintsa Beach Eco Retreat is broken up into a compound of four pavilions woven together by boardwalks and bridges. The sleeping pods are staggered and strategically placed on different levels, not only to offer privacy and protection from the prevailing wind but also to cater for the existing Milkwood trees. Inspired by the many weaverbirds in the area a nest is suspended under a Milkwood tree, lined with beach sand it accommodates seating for 14 people and a central fire pit where one can reflect and commune with nature under African skies.

site: 586 sq.m.
building: 312 sq.m.
project architect: paolo deliperi
structural engineer: de villiers sheard
contractor: kambaku construction
environmental: brett dustan – imithi