houses, Indoor / Outdoor

Equestrian Inspiration

Elsa Young


Aside from being inspired by angelic motifs and the faded glory of the past, the Higgovale home of businessmen Riaan and Kobus - featured in our April 2016 issue - also takes its cue from the iconic Mexican equestrian estate, Cuadra San Cristobal, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Luis Barragán.

Built back in 1968, this grand seven-acre compound in Mexico City is widely considered to be one of the finest example of the intersection of architecture and art, with a use of vibrant colour and form that's reminiscent of the work of Cubist visionary Pablo Picasso.

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The part of Riaan and Kobus's home that's most closely modeled on Luis Barragán's creation is the stark facade, with its tall concrete water feature. This interesting construction is almost an exact replica of the sculptured water fountain at Cuadra San Cristobal that feeds a large pool designed specifically for the estate's horses. In both homes, it's a point of interest that catches they eye and holds it.

equestrian3 The water feature at Cuadra San Cristobal on the left and the one modelled after it at Riaan and Kobus's Cape Town home on the right.

Although the Higgovale house doesn't employ bold colour like the Mexican one does (Cuadra San Cristobal's exterior walls are bright pink, red and purple), it still pays tribute to linear geometry, form and light in a similar way to the equestrian estate. Plus, just to bring the connection home, Riaan and Kobus's nest is also punctuated by various horsey touches, including a row of riding hats in the dramatic foyer and a saddle with stirrups in the main bedroom.

equestrian4 Concrete columns in the men's Higgovale home lend the space the same sense of linear solidity as Cuadra San Cristobal has; note the row of horse riding hats in the passage.

Cuadra San Cristobal is certainly the sort of unique architectural gem that deserves to have other abodes modelled after it, and it is still today considered to be a master piece of architecture.

Watch the video below to get a more fluid sense of the space (commentary is unfortunately in Spanish).

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