PROJECT:  THE WERF RESTAURANT
LOCATION:  PNIEL WESTERN CAPE
PHOTOGRAPHIC/IMAGERY CREDITS: W LE ROUX 

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The refurbishment of the restaurant included a new contemporary glass addition with an adjoining external deck. The addition extends the seating capacity of the restaurant to the South-East side, where it frames views of Boschendal’ s pristine valleys of wooded farmland with the Groote Drakenstein Mountains set as the backdrop. 

The new extensions are treated as ‘clip-on’ elements to the traditional structure. Clean lines and lightweight elements with clear spanning fenestration form a crisp contrast with the Heavy hand crafted masonry walls of the traditional werf architecture and its small vernacular openings, while divisions in the glazing line compliment the vertical orientation of traditional openings. The disjoint between new and old is further accentuated by a visual separation of the structures with glazed shadow gaps.

Apart from its distinct contemporary design, the new addition is simply detailed to prevent it from unnecessary embellishment that would undermine the architectural hierarchy of the werf, thereby establishing its association with other outbuildings on the Werf. Likewise, confining additions to the south side of the restaurant, the pristine character and integrity of the Werf is retained in its historic simplicity.

As a requirement for the restaurant to function sufficiently, new openings were introduced to join the internal space between the old and the new structure. The position of new openings were informed by means of a fabric analysis as a sensible approach to preserve the historic building structure and as a result new openings were to a great extent restricted to those closed off during previous interventions into the structure. The symmetry and orientation of such openings reflect key design principles of the traditional werf architecture so as not to introduce foreign design principles into the vernacular.

The Werf Restaurant was designed and constructed in association with Philip Briel.