Bosjes Estate

Western Cape, South Africa
Integrating ecology and amenity

Working ecology into a rural farm creates opportunities for diversified income, future-proofing cultural and agricultural landscapes.

Changing markets and ideals are opening opportunities for rural properties to tap into their wealth of natural, scenic, and spatial assets. Bosjes wine estate located northeast of Cape Town sets the benchmark.

So, what natural systems and place-making interventions can turn regional properties into authentic and relevant destinations?

Restorative ecological strategies bring a degraded portion of land back to life.

Client: Bosjes Estate
Awards: 2022
President's Award & Category First place:
South African Institute for Landscape Architecture (ILASA)
Award of Excellence: IFLA

Archilover Best Project
Jury & Popular Choice Winner: 9th Annual Architizer A+ Awards
Prix Versailles Worldwide Awards
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Typology: Hospitality
Status: Built 2021
Size: 2.5 ha

A long curved path reveals a sequence of landscapes and buildings as visitors journey through the narrow site. The experiential design provides refuge for wildlife and pause moments for people. Hybrid ecologies curate unique moments of wonder in nature, opportunities for fun and learning. 

Embedded into the landscape a cafe and gift shop are built into the earth, an ‘effortless fusion’ between architecture and the natural landscape. The roofs are carpeted with indigenous grasses and succulents that seamlessly integrate their curved masses into the contours of the site. Trellises with climbing plants frame the structures, further blending them into the landscape.

An accessible canopy walk offers a vantage point to observe the indigenous woodland and spectacular valley views. As a structuring device, it frames play areas, creates sheltered spaces beneath the decking, and provides support for the climbing and swinging nets that are woven through it.

The integrated water management design references the historic valley farm systems and ensures resilience in this drought stressed environment. The role of water is celebrated in reflective storage reservoirs, playful splashpads, ecological filtration wetlands, and cooling cobble channels. A dam is a functional biofiltration system combining new habitats for local wildlife. 

Cultural landscape references include windbreaks, a woodland, orchards. Indigenous plants give a palette of seasonal interest celebrating the colourful diversity of Cape flora. Reservoirs are reinterpreted as attractive landscape elements providing habitat for plants, fish and birds. A restoration area nurtures the critically endangered Indigenous vegetation.

An interactive, multifunctional landscape that activates and adds value to a previously barren site