Friday, August 31, 2007

A Common Sense Approach

Die Fransie Pienaar Museum het so ‘n klein winkeltjie waar allerlei produkte verkoop word. Daar is ook ‘n ongelooflike verskeidenheid van boeke en poskaarte wat te koop aangebied word.

Die boeke is hoofsaaklik deur inwoners van ons dorp en omgewing, geskryf. Met trots wil ons die nuutste boekie aan u bekend stel: Common Sense Guidelines for Building in the Karoo (and most other Places for that Matter!) deur John Whitton.

John Whitton qualified in England, worked there and in Cape Town for forty years and in 1997 'retired' from his “big city” partnership to come and live in Prince Albert. As the only (and very busy!) resident practising architect for the last ten years, John has played a significant part in the renewal of the town as well as the steadily re-valuing property prices! He is responsible for many successful renovations and an equal number of charming new residences. Whether you are building a home from scratch or restoring an old house, you should study a copy this hot-off-the-press guide.

Sy boekie neem jou, stap vir stap, deur al die fases van grond koop, die kies van die régte bouplan, tot by die laaste fase van huis bou, asook die toegelate tyd vir elke fase. Hy doen aanbevelings oor die restourasie van bestaande geboue en moedig nuwe eienaars aan om nie te skroom om vrae te vra en kritiek te lewer nie - wees betrokke by jou groot projek.

John offers good advice on designing for this climate and using energy efficiently, and lots of practical information – the 'nuts and bolts' of what you need to know - regarding the builder, obtaining tenders, the contracts and the program of work. Changes will always be made and delays are inevitable – so take these into consideration. Murphy's Law prevails when building, so John even has a section entitled: 'What to do when things go horribly wrong!'
The author has this to say on building style: “This can be an emotive subject. ... examine what attracted you to the town in the first place. The chances are that - as well as factors such as lifestyle and tranquillity – you have been quietly seduced by the architectural ambience, by the charm and beauty of the local built environment.”

“No man is an island and our designs should win the acceptance and approval of the community as a whole. One should consider what the building will look like in relation to its neighbours: this is particularly important when building in an historic area of town.

“It is not necessary to slavishly copy outdated building styles, but I firmly believe it is valid to use building elements that have been a delight to the eye for generations. The proportions, scale and visual attraction are as valid today as they were a hundred years ago. Conversely, I believe it is fundamentally wrong to try to disguise a new home as one that was built a century ago. Don't try to make the baby look like the grandfather – it really won't work!”

Selfs diegene wat glo dat hulle niks nuuts oor dié onderwerp kan leer nie, sal nog steeds die boekie geniet. John se lekker geselstrant, asook die praktiese wenke wat hy gee, deurspek met ‘n goeie skoot humor, maak van dié boekie lekker leesstof.

John's amazing little book is widely available and is for sale, with pride, at the Fransie Pienaar Museum – (John served on the museum board for 7 years) at R25 per copy.

Museum greetings
Mary-Anne Botha and Debbie Badenhorst

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