Lodge with a Conscience
Combining striking modern design and pared back interiors, Marataba Trails Lodge in the Waterberg’s Marakele National Park champions sustainable design with a system that’s entirely off the grid and solar powered. Here, HL chats to architects Paul Swart and Rob Marneweck to find out more about their low-impact approach and the various methods in place to achieve it. What was your brief? The design had to be off the grid, as green as possible, respond to the EIA scoping report and strict SAN Parks environmental regulations, as well as touch the ground lightly. As a result, we feel it maximises guests’ comfort, luxury and privacy in a minimalistic manner. Our philosophy for all our projects is to create responsive and responsible sustainable designs, answering completely to context, the environment, client brief and lifestyle expectations. Tell us about the low impact design of the property from an aesthetic angle The long, lean central facility nestles at the foot of the mountain. Its location was chosen to minimise the impact on the environment, being careful not to hinder views, guest experience and contact with nature. Our intention was to keep the structure as simple as possible; we tried to re- interpret existing buildings that are attached to the mountainside in a more contemporary way. Higher up, the five guest suites are elevated along the steep mountainside contours using stilted steel framed structures that touch the ground as lightly as possible. They’re clad with timber and fully glazed blow-away fronts to incorporate the drama of the views of the surrounding mountains and valley below. And what about the green features you've put in place?