Oude Arena Village, Bredasdorp / Chris de Hart Architects


The site of the Oude Arena Village housing development is the old ”Renbaan”, or racetrack of Bredasdorp in the Western Cape South Africa, situated on the main road on the east side of the town where, in 1901, the first race took place on the agricultural show grounds.

The race track is famous not only as the home of the horse named York, who was the 1904 Met winner, but equally his illustrious owner, Billy Anderson, who had the distinction of being the first double Springbok sportsman in rugby and cricket, as well as the likes of Karel de Baan who it is said could outrun a Bontebok.

A century later Chris de Hart Architects from Stellenbosch in the Western Cape South Africa were appointed for the design of 45 single-residential and six apartment units.

Appropriately, the “De Oude Arena”-Village housing estate honors the rich history of the site and the vernacular architecture and imagery of Bredasdorp and the similar rural language of the Western Cape with it’s reference to romantic building materials and forms.

The character of the old farm and racetrack was maintained in the architecture of all the structures. The Apartment building resembles old stables with the traditional grain-silos, dormered windows as well as farm type doors, all of which were cleverly worked into the planning of the apartments.

Care was taken to give every house its own individual character within a cultural, historical and architectural reference. By using different textures, wall finishes and paint colours different design elements were accentuated. The most prominent of these are the various chimneys and “bakoond motive” elements forming a very distinctive streetscape.

A Museum/Office building for the display of memorabilia representative of the old racetrack and town folk, forms the focal entrance to De Oude Arena. From here the Silo-culture of the Cape Agulhas is prevalent in the streetscapes with traditional local stone ‘leivore’ channeling water to a central Village Green ‘drinkbak’ water-feature. Lush, tree-planted, cobbled streets and textured articulated building and boundary walls, combined with the vernacular architecture lend an old town-like character to this quaint village

The present house options vary in size. They range from 114m2 to 163m2 single and double storey houses. Duplex apartment stable-blocks of 71m2 to 88m2 also form part of the village layout. In order to cater for the demand of the elderly, the future stable block apartment building will be constructed as a single story structure with two bedroom units, but still forming part of the stable block style of approx 80 m2, two bedroom units.

An additional building option now allows for a two bedroom starter house of 85m2 which includes a single garage and culminating in a three bedroom house of 120m2 with a  double garage with different architectural treatment to fit into the present “De Oude Arena” village architecture.

Externally, farm-style chimneys and silos jut out from the main structures in a joyous and almost playful manner lending an element of excitement to the units. Internally the different volumes and traditional “bakoond” fireplaces with spaces opening into usable courtyards, relives the old farmhouse living. The interior materials have been chosen to provide a luxurious durable quality suggestive of rural living.

The buildings have been placed in such a way as to maximize erf utilization and to provide privacy from neighbouring units.

‘De Oude Arena” captures the romance of living within the Bredasdorp rural-architectural and ambiance.

Developer: Sarnia Property Development (Pty) Ltd
Architects: Chris de Hart Architects
Town Planners and Land Surveyor: RAP Land Surveyors
Structural Engineers: MH&A Consulting Engineers


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