Decor & Design

#21DaysofTrends: Architecture's New Arches

There's a revival of more humane shapes and forms, and we're here for it in a big way.


Many will say they never went out of style, but we're seeing more and more arches and domes making a comeback all around us. We’re loving the return to tall, narrow Milanese-style arches in domestic architecture – they create fantastic ‘picture frame’ openings. We’re also excited by an increase in spaces that feature domed ceilings, ranging from the dreamy to the dramatic. And some interiors dare to include both: the arches and domed ceiling at Saint, the recently opened restaurant in Sandton, make this 'more is more' interior an obvious case in point. 

Three more local projects whose domed and arched architecture we can’t get enough of: 

Peter Rich’s Animist Bends

Peter Rich, Architecture, Dome, Arch

Legendary South African architect Peter Rich has always embraced the more curvaceous end of the architectural spectrum. In his own home and garden in Johannesburg, recently featured in House and Leisure (pictured above), exceptionally talented stonemasons have created bends and turns which invite wonder and intrigue around every turn. In many ways it is a more human approach to the built environment’s language, and one we hope more local architects will also embrace in their work. 

ALSO READ: Second nature: architect Peter Rich's terraced Parktown garden

David Krynauw’s Turned Timber Rafters

David Krynauw, Chapel, Arch, Architecture

David Krynauw may be more famous for his furniture than for architecture, but his team’s beautiful chapel – built from wood his father planted from seed – reaches a scale that makes the most of his unique approach to design. Created in collaboration with two architects for their own wedding, it was, amazingly, constructed in two weeks and is a true testament to what can be achieved when talented craftspeople collaborate with teams that expand their capabilities. 

ALSO READ: David Krynauw chats about creating his first large-scale structure

Snøhetta & Local Studio’s ‘Arch for Arch’ 

Local Studio and Snøhetta’s ‘Arch for Arch’ project might seem like a simple structure, but its cleverly designed timber structure is hugely poetic. It was created as a homage to the life and legacy of Archibishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in the Company’s Garden in Cape Town, and comprises 14 intertwined wooden arches – one for each of the 14 chapters of the South African Constitution.

The ‘chapters’ bend around themselves to create a pavilion that subtly references the good work of the Arch (as Tutu is lovingly called). Ravi Naidoo, who conceptualised the project as part of the Design Indaba festival, said at the time that, ‘It’s a homage to Archbishop Tutu, it’s a celebration of our democracy and the Constitution, and it’s a place to constantly conscientise us that our work is not yet done.’

ALSO READ: Arch for Arch is a tribute to Archbishop Tutu