Trees SA Head Office; Vrede Farm, Stellenbosch, 2016

The Stellenbosch farmland is an exquisitely beautiful rolling landscape.

On the outer western edge, toward Kuilsrivier, Trees SA run their tree nursery and head operations on Vrede farm, where mature trees are grown and distributed all over South Africa and internationally.

The Managing Director, Dag Willems, wanted to replace the existing container offices they have been working from, into a permanent head office. His brief was for a cost-effective building that made the best use of light and orientation while also making the most of views toward the surrounding landscape.

The concept of a farm shed was used as a departure point for the office design, and for its simple form and traditional reference to the historic cultural landscape of the cape.

Despite its traditional form, the architectural language and detailing has a strong contemporary composition, while the overall character of the building is softened with natural materials and crafted handmade features and textures as a way of suggesting something more unique and less like a typical office.

The design features an open portal structure that supports a double pitched roof. Walkways and clip-on elements such as a converted shipping container shed, outhouse ablutions and water storage tank, complete the typical arrangement you would come to expect from a productive farm. Additionally these clip-on features help scale the main office building down to sit more naturally in the landscape.

The office accommodation consists of an open plan office including two private offices for the managing team and MD, store rooms, a meeting room, a small kitchen and an entrance mud room. The interior was given a light industrial aesthetic through the use of rustic finishing. Furniture design also formed part of the interior fit out of the office and to ensure the specific needs of the staff is met.

To the north-west of the office building, a steel shed and workshop area is house under a sculptural butterfly roof. The shed is fabricated from repurposed shipping containers and was designed to house all equipment and vehicles used in the growing, re-location, and planting of trees.

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