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Forrester Estate, Gota Dam, Zimbabwe

Thursday 27 Nov 2008

Seilern has a rocky start..

Forrester Estate by Studio Seilern Architects in Gota Dam, Zimbabwe
© Studio Seilern Architects / Muzia Sforza 
Forrester Estate by Studio Seilern Architects in Gota Dam, Zimbabwe Forrester Estate by Studio Seilern Architects in Gota Dam, Zimbabwe Forrester Estate by Studio Seilern Architects in Gota Dam, Zimbabwe Forrester Estate by Studio Seilern Architects in Gota Dam, Zimbabwe
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 11

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11/11/15 Blessing, Harare
Actually i am one of the guys who was involved in the construction of the project;i had nice time with all consultants as they were so organised.They really prove upon there wealth.The mansion looks so beautiful and what an amazing staff from the local guys including Interplump,Grid Transmission,Sage,Home improvements and not forgeting the main contractor Elevate construction.
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30/04/12 tendai, joburg
I often wonder what is the relationship between this German family and Mugabe? Does anyone know???? People who disobey any manager on this farm are arrested and jailed with no trial. When the police feel like it they are released and told not to return to the same farm or risk arrest. When everyone including blacks are fearful to invest, this house is being built in the heartland of black farm land by a white German. I am in need of answers here, or is Zanu doing double standards! Wake up Zimbabweans! Vhuka! Mhukai! How far is the house, anyone know?
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19/12/11 rex, shrewsbury, ma
Inspirational. (i.e. Iike it).
06/10/11 Adam, Harare
I think that you'll find that this house represents the very worst of wealthy, arrogant ignorance breeding an unconscionably immoral architectural structure. The von Pezolds are well known in Zimbabwe as doing whatever is required to retain their privileges. In short you don't keep your land like this in current Zim without paying dues to the devil. Frankly the architect should ask herself some very serious questions in re: the moralities of the project. Built on a kopje, where traditionally the local ancestors reside. Nice one; just build your modern prussian monolith on the local spiritual site. I hope it gets repeatedly hit by lightning frankly. Though the fact that it exists already points to the fact that the wishes of the moral many are trampled by the desires of the pathetically privileged few.
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28/10/10 Joke, South Africa
The owners have obviously made a lot of money by "sticking it out" and I am sure that the 3000 (although how do you quantify) are all people or families of people that work for thems obligation - so its not charity it. I know Harare very well and have not heard of anyone simply feeding 3000 other than charities. In terms of the materials being local - if would be nice again to quantify this. No mention of the fittings etc. Lets not to try and dress this up as anything other than it is - an OK piece of architecture totally at odds with the socio-political environment. I hope the owners enjoy frolicking in one of their two pools while people not far from their doorstep. I am sure it will be a very nice place to entertain Mugabe's henchmen.
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01/08/09 Ex Zim, Nice
this is what happens in Zimbabwe. The owners have obviously fallen in love with the country and want to put an investment there. As for davidw's earlier comments...what you get in the media is not as brutal as you may think. while things are bad...Afghanistan or Iraq (or New York actually) is still FAR FAR worse. The bulk of the problem is that it's a dictatorship
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12/12/08 davidW, london
well, glad to hear that there is a "positive" side (thanks patrick), but i still have doubts over wether this is the right thing to do in the circumstance. i have travelled in Zim, but obviously at this point in time i am like many others - bewildered bystanders. Katie and patrick - you are local so you will be better judges.
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05/12/08 iolanda costode, london
An extremely boring piece of architecture. Why do we get to see this? 'Cliffhanger' is not enough to impress. There is no subtlety to the visual discourse.
03/12/08 Katie, Harare
It is unbelievable that in a country where there are people starving, with no access to education or health and where the majority of shelter is overcrowded and in a desparate situation that such an extravagant building is currently under construction! shame on the architects for taking on this work and if one knows anything about the climate and access to materials in Zimbabwe one would really question the design as shown on the website. Is this real????
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03/12/08 Patrick, Harare
Out of interest Katie - could be mentioned that this farm is one of the few commercially viable farms in Zim, and the owners have fought tooth and nail to keep things running - in the face of one of the worlds most hectic dictatorships, they've ensured that over 3000 people have food, water & shelter. The house has been 'in process' for years, and is a stake in the ground to say - we're here to stay and fight. The materials, labour etc are almost all local - and this investment in people and jobs literally puts food on the table for people. People have been beaten up and killed on this farm and the owners, managers, workers have stuck it out. Yes it is extraordinary that people are still prepared to invest in Zim, when it could be taken away at any moment - there's very few people either locally or internationally who are prepared to take this kind of risk.
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Living within the rock with spectacular views, Forrester Estate represents a landmark in context and experience 

A private residence on site in Zimbabwe’s Forrester Estate, an agricultural farmland one hour’s drive north of the capital Harare, has become Christina Seilern of Studio Seilern Architects' inaugural work since leaving Rafael Viñoly’s office. Christina Seilern, who was the founding Director of Rafael Viñoly’s European office in London and their Project Director for Leicester’s recently opened Curve Theatre, took the project as her first commission after leaving Rafael Viñoly Architects in 2006.

Dramatically sited on a granite monolith (locally known as a kopje) 50 metres above the man-made Gota Dam, the project, designed in collaboration with Muzia Sforza, is fulfilling the modernist aspirations of the clients, landowners and farmers Mr and Mrs von Pezold. The brief warned against any neo-colonial pastiche in the design and placed the views and the drama of the granite cliff plunging into the dam at the centre of the inspiration for the concept.

The house covering an area of 1,500 sq m has been situated on levels ranging between 112 and 116m, and the edge of the cliff, which drops another 50m to the Dam. Overall it consists of three basic elements: two granite blocks enclose bedrooms and support spaces and anchor the building into the rock, becoming part of the surrounding topography.

An expansive timber platform tip-toes on the granite kopje while a cantilevered roof frames the exterior spaces and the stricking panoramic views to the East, North and West. The spaces are designed to focus the eye to the horizon, while creating shaded exterior, living and dining areas.

In addition, two boxes of glass span between the deck and roof, and the natural granite topography. These enclose the glazed living areas with 360degrees 730degrees panorama at the upper level and the master bedroom suite at the lower level. The residence will feature two pools: a small horizon pool at the lower level will visually integrate the body of water created by the Dam and the lower levels of the house and a larger pool located further down the rock, at an approximate elevation of 105m.

Laura Salmi

Key Facts

Status Onsite
Value 0(m€)
Studio Seilern Architects

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