All images with thanks to Nick Brits


Nick Brits, principal, and co-founder of Evolve Architects in Bryanston put Stand 47 to the test this past weekend.  He works in the luxury residential and commercial sector and has an interest in creating buildings that provide energy efficient, harmoniously designed environments that translate into healthier and more comfortable lifestyles for his clients. He has a keen interest in using Saint-Gobain systems and technologies in his designs and is looking forward to creating a more sustainable future with them.

Stand 47 : What was your first impression of the house and did anything specific catch your attention?

Nick: I was very impressed by the house. The stone wall that marks the entrance into the house and continues into the living room grabbed my attention. My initial thought was that I could definitely live here!

Stand 47 : How does the real thing compare with your expectations?

Nick: Seeing and experiencing the house in real life exceeded my expectations. The house is understated yet luxurious. Well designed. with good spatial planning and proportions. Loads of natural light in the interior creates a calming atmosphere and the scenery is brought inside with well-framed views.

Stand 47 : Tell us about a night at Stand 47. Give us details!

Nick: At 9 PM, it was 10 degrees outside which felt very cold , whereas indoors it was a warm 22. The temperature inside was comfortable without having to light a fire or wear extra layers of clothing. We walked around barefoot inside the house.


Stand 47 : What is your opinion of the home next morning?

Nick: I think the home is cleverly designed. I love the simplicity and functionality of the spaces. I felt very relaxed and comfortable – 10 out of 10! I also felt creative and inspired. It would be a great and welcoming space to entertain people while also being a peaceful family home.

Stand 47: Could you describe your favourite aspect of the home?

Nick: It was very comfortable and quiet throughout our stay. In fact, is was quieter than a traditional home built with bricks. I loved the serenity.

Stand 47: And finally, we have to know, would you live in a home like this?

Nick: Hell Yes! This experience has positively influenced by opinion about houses built without bricks. I now know how comfortable they can be.



Sophisticated, livable, modern.


Images with thanks to Julia Freemantle @Julesfreemantle

The WinterTest is back and Julia Freemantle, the Real Estate Magazine Deputy Editor, got to test house in the nip of Winter. She has been in lifestyle publishing for 10 years and through working on some of SA’s best titles, has nurtured her love of design, architecture and art. Based in Jozi, she’s interested in photography and food and is happiest when spending time in the bush or on a beach. Stand 47 should do the trick then.

Stand 47 : What was your first impression of the house and did anything specific catch your attention?

Julia: My first impression of the house from the outside was that it was nothing special. However, this changed completely when I walked through the front door. There is a level of sophistication to the interior of the home. Even though it has a Modernist feel it gives the impression of being liveable and comfortable.

Stand 47 : How does the real thing compare with your expectations?

Julia: Nice…above expectation. The decor, art and light caught my eye and overall, the house exceeded my expectations.

Stand 47 : Tell us about a night at Stand 47. Give us details!

Julia : At 9 PM, it was 10 degrees outside and a comfortable 22 indoors. The temperature felt pleasantly warm. I lit a fire but not because I needed it – for the ambience.

Stand 47 : What is your opinion of the home next morning?

Julia : The internal space is well designed and comfortable (I would say a 9 out of 10). It’s great for entertaining, but also very restful. The house is surprisingly quieter than a traditional home.

Stand 47: Could you describe your favourite aspect of the home?

Julia : It was a combination of the warmth, the light and the quiet. The house was much quieter than I had imagined (and quieter than a traditional home in fact). In addition, the design for warmth and visual comfort meant that I could really relax.

Stand 47: And finally, we have to know, would you live in a home like this?

Julia : Yes. I could definitely see myself living in a home like this – I had no idea a house built without bricks could be so comfortable!





unnamedHolden Manz Wine Estate in Franschhoek is known for its picturesque setting and attention to detail. So when its Sales and Marketing director showed an interest in experiencing Stand 47 first hand, we made it happen.

Wayne Buckley-Koch heard about Stand 47 through word of mouth and has been following the project on social media.  He watched the promotional video and had a good sense of its sophisticated Saint-Gobain building materials which he considers make Stand 47 a visionary project. Yet he was impressed by how well the house lived up to his expectations in reality and found it to be well designed and thought out.
He was most impressed by the attention to detail that went on ‘behind the scenes’ to get this property to function and look as it does. For example, the temperature regulation through the layered and well-insulated walls ensure that the temperature inside the house is balanced to accommodate for a really comfortable environment without the need for heaters or massive services.
When we asked him what he loved most about the interior and exterior of the house he replied, “The exterior blends in perfectly with the beautiful environment while the interior is warm and inviting with creature comforts throughout.” He added that a light steel frame house is something he will consider as an option for a future home after experiencing Stand 47 first hand and reckons that more residential estates and homeowners will begin adopting this method of building because of its ease of use and performance benefits.



All photos by Denise Sherman, with thanks from us.

Our recent guest at Stand 47 was Denise Sherman, writer, film-maker and Social Media Ninja who is also the Editor of the Steel Construction Journal and the Marketing Manager of the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction. Her skills marry the technical world of steel construction with creative writing and photography. We loved how she interpreted her Stand 47 #RestTest.

Denise told us that she heard about Stand 47 through the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) and the South African Light Steel Frame Association (SASFA) (a sub-association of the SAISC), where John Barnard has been instrumental in promoting the use of LSFB systems. She added, “I’ve actually also often seen the Facebook advertising for the RestTest campaign, and thought “what a great idea”. Having been able to stay at the house for a weekend, I would say it exceeded my expectations in terms of how warm and quiet it was”.

She had both professional and personal reasons for wanting to stay at Stand 47. As Editor of the Steel Construction Journal, she wanted to experience the famed “comfort” and “convenience” factors of this building methodology and its advantages.  Of course, there was also the added benefit of escaping the daily grind with her hubby, who has a keen interest in architecture.02

With an in-depth knowledge of the construction systems in the home, she was able to identify the impact they made on her experience of a warm, comfortable and convenient home. While she loves her brick townhouse home with its huge windows, it does not compare to Stand 47’s comfort levels. Aside from the warmth, the sound insulation was a very pleasant (and comforting) surprise. The difference between interior (where all you could hear was the quiet hum of the fridge) and exterior (construction hammering an angle grinder noise from a neighbouring site) was remarkable.

Denise says, “I think the beauty of the house lies in its simplicity. The layout is both logical and effortless to move through. I love that the exterior is understated, and that when you get inside there is exactly enough space that you feel relaxed, but not so much that you would feel overwhelmed by trying to maintain or keep it clean and organised”.

Judging from her enticing photos, we can see that she enjoyed her stay. The idea of living in a well-designed house, constructed with an energy efficient, flexible building system that can accommodate change more easily than traditional “brick and mortar”, appeals to her. Denise says she could absolutely live in a Saint-Gobian LSF house in future, and we’re happy to have played a small part in reaching that conclusion.

House & Leisure 2016 #RestTest winner


What do you do when your life is stressing you and your husband out so much that you are both feeling overwhelmed? You look for a chance to get away, change, recharge, energize, connect. You start seeing beautiful escapes all around you. On one particular day, you can’t resist entering the House & Leisure competition for a weekend away at Stand 47. And if you are Jorindi van Eeden, you win it!

Jorindi told us after her stay at Stand 47 that her main motivation to enter the competition was to go somewhere with her husband (who works extremely hard) and to get away from their stressed-out daily lives.  She wasn’t aware of its significance as a case study for light steel construction (and Saint-Gobain materials) in South Africa, however, the moment she arrived inside the home she felt that something about it is different. What made her realise that this house is different from most homes, was the extraordinary comfort she felt inside.

Jorindi describes spending the weekend wearing a t-shirt, not feeling the nippy Highveld Autumn weather. She reckons that no brick house she has been in can compare with the extremely comfortable conditions inside Stand 47 because of its hi-tech building materials and the systems that make it up.

Contributing to her positive experience she added, are the subtle aesthetics complementing the surrounding landscape as well as the practical design behind the adaptable interior living space, which makes future alterations easy. She loved the way the house made her feel comfortable and relaxed and told us that permanently living in a house like Stand 47, is now on her bucket list.






A number of buildings that entered this year’s BREEAM award for new offices, all had one thing in common: energy efficiency. The environmental and economical performance of all of the buildings that were shortlisted like, The EdgeNodaTorsplan development, Greendale, and The White Collar Factory,  is outstanding. Between all of these buildings, The Edge scored the highest on the BREEAM assessment with a score of 98.36%. However, one thing made The Edge the winning building, and that is its ability to achieve well-being.

“Out of the trinity of people, planet, and profit, the people aspects are becoming more and more important as a differentiator between sustainable buildings as most developers now master the planet and profit aspects very well. […]

The most outstanding feature of the building is the way it interacts with its inhabitants and the way it defines and achieves comfort. The comfort system not only optimizes temperature, but also light, radiation, and air flow internally.”

CO2 levels in a room are directly related to the alertness and productivity of people, therefore, these levels are adjusted. People are guided to workspaces that are best suited the work they have to do that day, and also to their personal preferences like a window seat, or the temperature within open plan office. The major shift that is being seen in office design is from building efficiency to people comfort since companies are realising that comfortable people are happy people, and happy people are more productive.

While we are seeing these shifts in office design, we have experienced similar sentiments from our guests, they all say they feel productive at Stand 47 because of its comfortable spaces. We think designing for well-being, is key in designing a happy home too.

Read more on: https://portal.luxresearchinc.com/research/tidbit/21464?utm_campaign=journal&utm_source=journal&utm_medium=email

A Case Study home for South Africa









All photos courtesy of Derick De Bruyn

Recently we invited architect and academic Derick De Bruyn to spend a relaxing weekend at Stand 47 with his son. For two years now, he has used the house as an example of light steel construction in his second year architecture studio at the University of Pretoria. We wanted to know what influence the house has had in his design and construction teaching curriculum and why he finds it useful.

He told us that it was particularly useful to visit the house to see how external dry-walling would perform in the harsh Highveld environment, particularly when for so many years there has been a perception in the building industry that it is not possible to build successfully in this manner. Contrary to what he had experienced before, the external walls have not cracked at all under the extreme temperature changes. He believes that these high quality systems will start to be adopted by more and more people as they understand that the lightweight materials used in Stand 47 perform as well as those in traditional homes do and can feel just as [or more] comfortable.


From a teaching perspective Derick finds the house valuable for two reasons. First, it is a true Case Study home – testing and then proving that a home can be built in South Africa using these alternative materials and systems in a more sophisticated way than we have been taught to think or even have seen so far. Second, it provides a real life example for students (and the interested public) to visit and learn from or experience first hand.


There are certain design benefits to these systems which he also appreciates such as the modular design system which makes building more accurate and can allow for innovative detailing. He also says that the technologies performed really well on a hot day, with the home remaining a comfortable temperature at night due to the innovative dual drywall system of internal and external walls.


The spatial comforts of the home did not go unnoticed… he appreciates the atmosphere and ambiance of the house sited in the grasslands of Monaghan Farm with the lane of trees in the background and the views toward the eastern horizon. He also appreciates the spatial qualities of the home within the living areas where for example the reflections from the swimming pool cast onto the ceiling inside in the morning create a delightful atmosphere inside.



In summary, he found the house to live up to the desired comforts of a high quality home with the added benefits of almost entire self sufficiency (solar energy is captured by PV panels and rainwater is harvested) along with high performance building systems. Derick thinks that as more of his students become familiar with these systems and more members of the public experience the comforts of this home themselves, then more such homes will be built. And as this happens, he is very excited to see how the building systems will be interpreted into architectural design solutions that push the limits of the technology even further.











Resource depletion and waste generation are two of the most important problems facing current and future generations. There is a global need to change the way homes are built and occupied. Stand 47 demonstrates some of the opportunities available to people who choose to build sustainably.

Grahame Cruickshanks

Grahame is the executive director of the EDGE rating tool for residential projects in the Green Building Council of South Africa. On a recent visit to Stand 47 he provided us with detailed feedback on the green technologies and overall strategies used, some of which follows below:

Stand 47 demonstrates that good basic design principles are the first step in creating a successful sustainable building, even before technology is added. For example, Stand 47 has been perfectly sited providing the best orientation to the sun – sinking the house onto a terrace which screens the house from the West Sun is extremely effective. The layout is economical, liveable and comfortable – a difficult combination to achieve. Technologically, the building envelope systems are innovative for South African residential construction.

The light steel frame construction system did not affect my experience of comfort in the house in any way. Initially the home appeared modest in scale and aesthetics when approached from the road. The glazed front door works well as an entrance which draws one into the home. Once inside, the interior appeared conventional with the exception of the high, sloped ceiling and clerestory windows, creating a surprisingly generous and pleasantly proportioned space.

I visited Stand 47 on a day with extremely high temperatures (30 degC plus), and the interior was warm and remained slightly warmer than the exterior into the early evening. However, when compared with a traditional brick home with double brick exterior walls and single brick interior walls I would say that I could feel minimal, if any, difference in the interior temperatures.


This house provides an innovative option of building in a sustainable way because the flexibility of the non-service core layout allows the house to be adapted to different spatial needs more easily than brick and mortar. This is a significant sustainability attribute given the waste generated and resources consumed in conventional building renovations. The energy and water technologies used on the house have the potential to dramatically reduce resource consumption if used correctly. 




Light Steel construction at Monaghan Farm



Last year, Sean Pearce of MDS architects was a Rest Pilot in our #RestTest. His interest in Light Steel construction has been an ongoing design fascination, so much so that he is now designing is own home at Monaghan Farm using a light steel frame and Saint-Gobain dry-walling.

It seems that his experience at Stand 47 last year was a huge motivation in the design and construction of his own insulated, energy efficient and ultimately responsible home. This was made easy by the benefits of using light steel frames, namely their speed of installation and their insular performance.

While there are other products in the market that can be used with light steel frames, Pearce elected to use Saint-Gobain products and technologies because the company have an excellent track record in the industry and are committed to green technologies. For Pearce, their focus on finding green solutions to construction problems ultimately overlaps with his own goals. He is using Gyproc ceilings and Gyproc Rhinolite, as well as Saint Gobain’s ETICS walling system.

We asked him if he thinks that more architects and home owners are going to adopt this way of building their dream homes and he said yes… “people’s mindsets are changing and are becoming more ‘green’ conscious. More efficient homes equate to more economically friendly benefits long term. People are also having to react to both the electricity and water crises in our country by looking at green alternatives. Lightweight walling is a step in the right direction”. We could not agree more.






Our first guest to visit Stand 47 in 2016 was Thomas Chapman, founder and principal of the Architecture firm, Local Studio. He holds Masters Degrees in architecture and urban design and worked as a oral history and civic engagement researcher before going into professional practice. Since forming Local Studio in 2012, he has directed his efforts at inventing new directions for African architecture and urbanism through innovations in community participation, public space design and alternative construction methodologies.

Following a weekend at Stand 47, Thomas says that although he is already a convert to alternative walling systems like those used in Stand 47, he found that the Saint-Gobain drywall technology works very well in this type of house.

When asked about his impressions about the home, he said that the approach to the house is quite unassuming, adding that the buildings are incredibly well sited so as to make one feel completely secluded. The well-considered decor within the open and uninterrupted main living volume made an immediate first impression, followed by the simple use of slender steel to support the stoep and small T-sections to create the screens –  these elements add to the striking northern elevation discovered when standing in the garden. His favourite detail by far was the beautifully finished parquet flooring.

He says that the house is quiet and lends itself to promoting an overall sense of comfort. He added that he felt a sense of well-being that included feeling very relaxed, content and inspired within the house. His final verdict? He would feel absolutely comfortable living in a house like this, and would definitely consider designing (more) buildings with these materials.