Location: Brooke Chapel and Founders House (Restoration), Cape Town Timeline: 1 year from start to finish Cost: +- R 2 million
he Brooke Chapel was built in 1880 and Founders House was begun in 1852 with the final Brooke Wing, with tower and physics laboratory completed in 1905. Bishops (Diocesan College) required the levels around the Brooke Chapel to be reduced in order to restore levels to the way in which they were historically. Over time, levels had been increased, resulting in damp getting into the Chapel via covered weep holes. Exploratory excavations around the Chapel and at the entrance to Founders House, as well as old photographs, revealed that levels had been increased by as much as 800 mm over the years. Old entrance steps up the Chapel and Founders House had been ‘’buried’’ over time. The existing tarred court of Founders House, as well as a small gathering area in front of the historic Chapel, needed careful intervention. The school also wished to do a ‘’pilot project’’ showcasing materials, style, signage and lighting, in order to obtain comments on these, potentially to roll out on future upgrade projects. Excavations in the vicinity of the memorial garden had to be very carefully done, in order to preserve areas where ashes or memorial artefacts were located. All excavations around the buildings were done carefully by hand. Existing storm water structures, running underground, had to be located and incorporated in the site works and final designs had to be adjusted accordingly. Fortunately, the contractor, Naumann Construction, were excellent in this regard. The professionality of the builders made the work of cndv landscape architects a pleasure. Materials were chosen in consultation with the team. Existing sandstone was re-used from site to repair stone plinths and create new edges and walls. It was felt that new stone would not have the required patina to blend into the setting. The decision was made to go for unit paving in the court. Founders House and the Chapel are of the most historic landmark buildings in the Bishops’ school grounds. The decision was made to use long lasting and appropriate materials for the project – sandstone borders with cobbles in the court using genuine granite cobbles, sourced in South Africa. Founders House would receive a channel of sandstone around the base, and levels would be adjusted to expose the historic second step. Granite tiling was incorporated at the building entrance to define the space.
Photographs: Sean Thompson