The brief called for a gallery and workshops on an inclined, trapezoidal site located between two roads and an Edwardian villa. The final design was the result of a public competition.
Taking advantage of the north-east aspect, the building is set back from the villa and opens to an intermediate garden, used partially as an alfresco restaurant (strangely, one of only a few in Durban’s very conducive climate). A tapering staircase links the two roads, allowing the gallery and shop access from the main road, and the mezzanine level, along with the workshop, likewise accessible from the secondary road. The elevation to the garden is slatted in order to encourage breezes through the building, so necessary in Durban’s humid environment, with the stale air extracted through the clerestory over the gallery.
This is a simple yet powerful design, executed in minimalist finishes, appropriate for the locale and invigorating for the various users of the building.