Italian-born, Joburg-based architect Enrico Daffonchio was invited to exhibit his work at this year’s Venice Biennale’s TIME SPACE EXISTENCE exhibition, which runs until November. Enrico is possibly best known for his work on the redevelopment of the Maboneng Precinct in Joburg’s CBD, where his architecture has been central to reinventing the urban neighbourhood. His career, however, spans from early successes such as the luxurious Outpost Lodge in the northern Kruger Park, which won the 2003 Wallpaper magazine award for best lodge, through to a number of show stopping houses that push the envelope of sustainable yet modern architecture, to urban design and commercial buildings (The Energy Works in Joburg’s Parktown North is another landmark work.) Over the years, House and Leisure has had the pleasure of featuring quite a few examples of Enrico’s work. Here we take a quick tour of some of our favourites:
This beautiful house at Monaghan Farm north of Johannesburg blends with the grassy landscape while being highly energy efficient in its passive design. It was designed for Jonathan Liebmann, the developer behind the Maboneng Precinct.
This pavilion was on display in Kirstenbosch Gardens in 2010/11, and was a collaboration between Enrico, the sculptor Dylan Lewis and the poet Ian McCallum. It explored humanity’s relationship with nature, a powerful theme throughout his work.
Another house at Monaghan Farm (Enrico built the original showhouse there, too) pushed thermal insulation to the max in its pursuit of efficiency, while creating a glamorous but relaxed family home.
Arts on Main was the first building that Enrico re-envisioned at Maboneng, and its success paved the way for further developments, and the eventual and ongoing reinvention of an entire neighbourhood. He showed respect to the original buildings, adding light steel structures to transform them rather than bashing down walls and changing them substantially.
Enrico recently created another home for Maboneng developer Jonathan Liebmann, a glamorous glass box on top of Fox Street Studios, one of the precinct’s more recent buildings. Its steel-and-glass box structure is a celebration of its urban setting.
Text Graham Wood