PROJECT:  OLIVE PRESS
LOCATION:  PNIEL, WESTERN CAPE
PHOTOGRAPHIC/IMAGERY CREDITS: W LE ROUX 

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The Olive Press is designed as a farm shed to serve as a premier Multi-Purpose conferencing and wedding venue. The shed was chosen as a typology for its simple and recessive character as a background building. Simplified architectural detailing and traditional materials, in tune with that of other outbuildings on the farm, is played off against contrasting clean contemporary design features and materials to form a harmonious relationship that distinguishes the building from traditional architecture on the farm.

The ridge of the Olive Press is designed without accentuated or embellished gable ends and kept well below the Ridge of the werf precinct to preserve the dominance of the Historic Manor house and its outbuildings.

The passage that separates the main hall from the service wing is accentuated in the building envelope and visually breaks the building down into simplified forms thereby effectively reducing the building section to traditional proportions of rural architecture on the farm. Additional scaling elements, such the patio roof and the stepped down entrance roof and service wing further reduce the scale and mass of the building.

Windows and other glazing within the building envelope imitate traditional proportions in order to prevent discord with the traditional character of buildings on the farm. The sliding barn doors, leading one from the Main hall to the veranda, is tucked under a large veranda roof to reduce the scale of the contemporary opening on the building facade.

The most important challenge pertained to the concept of “place making” which in a setting as sensitive as this, required significant design sensitivity. The orientation of the building on site deliberately disassociates it from the werf precinct so it is not perceived as an extension of the linear pattern formed by the werf outbuildings. Instead its orientation relates to the loose geometry of the workers cottages within its immediate surroundings, thereby accentuating its separation from the werf and a connection to its meadow setting. 

The Olive press was designed and constructed in association with Philip Briel.