Exploring two architectural themes: the relationship between architecture and landscape; and the relationship between architecture and iconography, this 14 roomed boutique hotel by Activate Architects (Edward Paes-Brooks & Michael Magner) makes an important contribution to the architecture of the post apartheid period.
Most of the building is submerged under concrete roofs covered in natural veld grasses. The entrance of the complex replicates a cleft in a rock, the walls are faced with stones gathered from the site. The wood beams and decking of the restaurant area mimics an archaeological landscape, marking the land for reference purposes.
The site and its habitation are mapped with complex, overlapping layers that oscillate between the natural and the cultural and suggest new alliances between the two. This view contrasts sharply with the prevailing image of the South African landscape, giving expression in architectures of closure and interiority, as violent, dangerous and threatening.
At Forum Homini, sculptures and decorations by notable artists are extensively used to construct the identity of place. These artworks identify the hotel with the four million year history of its site.