Remarkable and well-established in commercial practice, Micheal Tod Architects and Block Architects with their dynamic practice merge to create projects. With more than 1000 built work and award-winning modern technological designs, this companion has been in commercial practice for more than 30 years. Bloc architects believes that architecture has an integral role in global environmental problems and promotes sustainable design by adapting buildings to environmental conditions. They make energy use more efficient in their buildings by using technologies to support their manifesto. 

Rethinking The Future Awards 2022

Below is the list of 15 Projects by Bloc Architects.

1. Elaleni Forest Clubhouse

The Elaleni Forest Clubhouse was constructed on a dense forest in Salt Rock, South Africa, and facilitates a yoga studio, meditation room, lounge areas, hammocks, and entertainment space within a quiet and serene environment. Its close engagement with the forest reinforces its calm and therapeutic atmosphere. However, the Clubhouse’s construction and planning were challenging due to strict environmental regulations in the delicate site. Building’s place was conscientiously selected not to harm surroundings, and it was built on an old foundation that has been there. Lightweight steel was used in the structure to minimize the load on the old foundation. In short, Forest Clubhouse gets benefits from the forests to maintain a restful environment without deteriorating habitat.

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2. Saxony House 1

Saxony House is in the Saxony Estate Private Game Reserve and proposes a new experience different from the classic game lodge theme.  The essential intention of the design is to intertwine the interior and exterior. The house is entered from the pool’s side, and the pool surrounds the house, reflecting the outdoor elements such as stars and clouds inside. The outdoor entertainment area planned to provide an adventurous outdoor experience in the comfort of home. The house’s interior allows users to see the magnificent nature view and the ecological environment from every room due to its open plan in the living area and 4 bedrooms with large openings.

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3. The Gates 

The Gates is an office space that perfectly blends with the environment and aspires to give a sense of being outside of the crowded and noisy world; the surrounding forest recalls users to nature. The building contains access kiosks, a security control room, lettable offices, shared workspaces, homeowner’s association offices, a coffee shop, and a social pause area. Also, it is promoting sustainable living by its design that embraces nature. Every possible building component consists of raw and local materials that emphasize the relationship with the forest. Planted berms give a natural appearance to the building and smooth the transition between the massive concrete roof and surrounding greenery. 

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4. Umhlanga House 4

Umhlanga House 4 was built in Umhlanga, Durban, South Africa, collaborating with Kevin Lloyd Architects. They aimed to maximize the green space despite the narrow site and designed the house around a courtyard. Upper levels are located to observe the sea view, and the building is opened on the north facade to get sunlight.  It also includes a semi-open space that gives space flexibility, which can be used as a closed room according to weather conditions.

Rethinking The Future Awards 2022
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5. Nandos 1

Nandos currently operates as a car restaurant. Once, it was a part of the Bluff Towers Mall. It has been moved to the main crossroads of Tara and Grays Inn Road to provide a more dynamic parking layout. The drive-through concept was convenient for fast food culture, and being next to the parking area was beneficial for a car restaurant. The Nandos brand made bespoke for every design project, interior, and exterior, and Bloc worked with Reddeco to achieve a colorful, vibrant, and dynamic interior design look. Bloc demonstrated its calm and natural architectural style in the design by adding a parametric wood component to the highly colorful exterior and balanced the facade. 

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6. Umhlanga House 1

Umhlanga House 1 was designed simultaneously with Umhlanga House 2. The area between the two houses has been maximized to be used as a green area. The main living areas were placed nearby the north facade, and it was planned to benefit from daylight without being exposed to excessive solar heat gain. The bedrooms on the upper floor are positioned towards the east to look at the seascape. Since this positioning caused the bedrooms to receive too much sunlight and solar heat during sunrise, these negative side effects were prevented by wooden, movable overhangs on the upper floors. Moos Interior Architects contributed to the project by undertaking interior design.

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7. Durban Beachfront Upgrade

Durban Beachfront is a significant touristic place, and one of the first places that comes to mind when Durban is mentioned. In this respect, it is a place that creates the identity of Durban, and it is an image for the city. Since streets, facilities, and buildings directly access the promenade, an upgrade was needed to use its significant position more efficiently. While making the upgrade, facilitating public access to beaches, integrating the city center with the beach, and ensuring safety with the environmental planning was prioritized. The constructed sea wall has a defensive stand towards storm surges and protects the promenade while providing a sitting area for large groups. To prevent wind-driven sand from reaching the promenade, concrete steps were placed where the beach and promenade merged. This precaution created an extra sitting place for the users. New high-mast lightings, area lightings, street furniture, and showers were also added to the site.

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8. Bloc House

Bloc House was designed to use a small site more efficiently. Since the excavation and filling works were not carried out while the building was being constructed, it does not harm the surrounding environment. The building’s openings are positioned on the north and south facades to ensure maximum sunlight and prevent overheating through cross ventilation. The windows can be slid open in all the rooms on the upper floor, and Low-E glass is used in every window. Thus, thermal comfort in the inside is provided without interrupting the fascinating forest view. Environmental technologies, such as a rainwater collection system, were also used in the building. The water obtained through this technology was used in flush and irrigation water and provided a remarkable water saving. Besides, the green roof of the building not only does increase the harmony of the building with the environment but also contributes to thermal comfort by functioning as an insulation material.

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9. The Prep Room

The Prep Room is located at the entrance to Glenwood Prep School. This structure aims to design a playful and functional space with recycled shipping containers. The building’s main use is the children’s playground and cafe, as well as a barber upstairs. The units were raised from the ground with steel profiles and created a semi-open space at the bottom. This sheltered part was used as the sitting space for the cafe. The Prep Room attracted children with its Lego-like structure and received positive reviews from parents.

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10. Simbithi House 2

Simbithi House 2 is located at Simbithi Eco Estate, which is an eco-friendly residential community. The house was placed on steep land; thus, it had a pleasing forest view. The design determines maximizing indoor and outdoor spaces and softening the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces with semi-open spaces. The sloping roof adapts to the neighborhood’s architectural style, and Bloc architects created a green roof by being equipped with plants in line with the client’s green thumb. Materials such as stone, wood, and concrete were used as raw to sustain the unity between the building and the environment.

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11. Lifestyle Centre Eat Street

Eat street is a project that emerged as a result of Life Center’s intention to be upgraded to compete with the opening of a mall across the road in 2017. The project aims to connect indoor and outdoor spaces while creating a lively dining area. The concept is inspired by the food culture of Europe’s pedestrianized streets. On Eat Street, a street experience is created by leaving the middle empty in the area lined with restaurants. Bloc architects have completed this project in collaboration with Evolution Architects.

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12. The Modern Barn

The modern barn reinterprets the traditional barn concept with a modern style. This concept stands out notably on the sloping roof. The conventional barn’s high walls were divided into two floors, and the ground floor was expanded to maximize the living area. The building was designed to be a family home. Therefore, it intends to maintain a cozy environment. The living space is open plan, and the kitchen is placed at the center of the house. Also, there is a semi-open space where the outside meets the inside. The pool was used outside, and unplanted soil strengthened its appearance as a modern countryside barn.

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13. Maputo Offices

Maputo Offices is located on a busy street in Maputo. The building has more than one function. The ground floor, located at a strategic point where two streets meet, was designed to be used by shops. The area covered by the building is large enough to house many stores; hence, the bottom part of the building can turn into a retail center. The upper floors were planned to be used as an office space. While the openings on the south facade are maximized to see the marvelous Maputo Bay view, the east and west facades are closed to avoid overheating.

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14. The Forest House 

The Forest House is located on a private forest estate in Durban, South Africa, and it was designed by Bloc Architects collaborating with Kevin Lloyd Architects. The design proposes a visual and tactile exploration by combining architecture and landscape. The structural materials were used as raw to reinforce the design’s compatibility with nature. The pool is an important element for blurring the barrier between the interior and exterior and reflecting outdoor elements to the interior. The interior plan is constituted as two boxes at the bottom floor. One of the boxes works for service and the other for storage. The living space acts as a bridge, connects these two boxes, which allow users to view the garden and provides the distant sea view from the north facade while protecting privacy.

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15. Athlone Circle

The Athlone Circle, a development project, incorporates high-end restaurants, a national gym, and high-class offices. Vehicle traffic, parking positioning, and topography were driving points while creating the site plan. The project was inspired by traditional village settlement as a concept and internalized around a public space. A local face brick from Pietermaritzburg was used on the facade; however, this did not affect its modern appearance. While the buildings’ lower floors were reserved for retail, Class A offices were lined up in a single row. Higher structures in the area serve vertical distribution and various needs.

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Author

MügeElmas is currently an architecture student studying at Ozyegin University, Istanbul, in the senior year. After graduation, she aspires to continue her masters. She is interested in all forms of art, but is specifically passionate about movies and set designs, and always seeks new experiences to widen her knowledge about art and architecture.

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Rethinking The Future Awards 2022