Balize Private Estate Design Series: ARCHITECTURE

Creating a housing development is one thing but creating a truly desirable development which people want to make home is another challenge altogether. Justin Bate, of Chalk Design Workshop, teamed up with Chen Sagnelli (Sagnelli Associate Architects) to breathe life into Balize Private Estate. The journey to fruition is well on its way but it started with an empty piece of land, a spectacular view and a developer with big dreams.

 

 

 

FINDING THE BEST SITE

JUSTIN

“I have been involved with Balize from grass roots level, and I was part of the team that selected the site the development sits on today. The Developer is so emotionally connected to the site- he must have walked the length and breadth of it a hundred times before he decided that was the one he wanted. The one thing that was top of the priority list for him was the view and he was mindful of preserving the view but at the same time creating an amazing development. I think the phrase he used the most was “maximising the view”. Once we had selected the site and settled on the site layout, we set out to create a development where the buildings are orientated in such a way so that nobody has to look into another building. As a stepped-up building, or Cabana, each home has its own view which doesn’t intrude on those below them. Balize really has a softer, boutique feel; vastly different from some of the others around it. The lines are clean and sleek, all the edges are floated and what results is a very cool, contemporary look. This is contemporary subtropical architecture which is contextual to KZN. The Developer could just as easily have put as many units as possible onto the site, but he chose not to. A smaller estate, with just about 100 homes creates a sense of community and homeliness and I think this is what has really attracted buyers to Balize. The Developer wanted something extraordinarily different and he gave us the breadth and time to get this right- we were never rushed into getting something off the ground just because.“

 

TAKING CUES FROM NATURE’S HUES

CHEN

“Part of the beauty of Balize is the green ‘neighbour’ on its northern side- this is a natural forest conservancy with a valley which runs down from the estate. The surrounding greenery along with the unlimited views over Umdloti is what makes this place spectacular. The Developer truly has vision- he was adamant that he wanted a green avenue of trees on the drive up to the Gatehouse. He wanted this to be the welcoming atmosphere at Balize. within the estate you’ll find lots of green ‘breathing space’ between buildings and a green lung in the centre. Us, along with the developer, worked hard to turn the medium-density concept around to bring a much softer, boutique approach. “

 

A SUBTROPICAL RESORT

JUSTIN

“We worked very closely with Lucas Uys, From Uys& White Landscape Architects, whom we greatly respect as an artist and a professional. Lucas is a creative genius with heaps of passion but one who has a long-term vision.”

CHEN

“The Developer wanted Balize to have a distinctly coastal feel and Lucas brought that to life in many ways- the inclusion of different types of palms was key to this. The Clubhouse and resort-style pool and surrounding area is something we brainstormed with Lucas together- we both knew what we wanted but it was a case of balancing the creative vision, the practicality and the cost of it all. The Developer told us Balize must feel like a resort, and such the Clubhouse is inspired by coastal resorts in subtropical settings-like Mauritius. From that vantage point we wanted the eye to skim over the sparkling pool, across the green expanse and come to settle on the glistening horizon.”

 

VIEWS THAT GO ON FOREVER

CHEN

“Although the apartments don’t have their own gardens, they do have unbelievable terraces with the kitchen, lounge and dining areas opening into the terrace and creating one large space. This is really where the concept of al-fresco living comes to life. And the Northern orientation of the estate means amazing sunlight too!”

JUSTIN

 “Open terrace space and outdoor living was hugely important to us and how we could translate that into a residential estate.”

 

A PLACE FOR EVERYONE

JUSTIN

“Balize has lock-up-and-go convenience without the usual small, cramped matchbox apartments; instead the homes have a villa feel with 4-metre wide terraces this is real outdoor living.”

 CHEN

“The Developer is extremely sensitive to what people want; he really didn’t see a high-density development here. He wanted something with a homely yet contemporary feel, a place where people want to stay and a space that people will choose to relax in. He wanted it to feel like each home is an individual home and not part of a greater estate. Balize is geared for those who are looking for a home, and those whose kids have maybe flown the nest or are at uni. But the beauty of Balize is that it’s a place near the coast for out-of-towners too. It’s central, it’s part of a holistic precinct and it has lock-up-and-go homes. The Estate fits all ages and people wanting a secure coastal lifestyle.”

 

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