The clients’ brief requested an architectural solution to an existing structure which was a thatched entertainment area on the roof of the ‘happy hippo’ backpackers in Durban, KZN.
Besides being unsightly the thatched structure was a fire hazard and was ordered to be removed by the city council. The new design takes its cue from the local architecture of the vicinity, an area that for over a century, was the main concourse from Durban harbor into the heart of the city. Restored Victorian hotels and warehouses are proliferent in the area so it seemed only natural that the new building should follow suit. The main bar area is entered from a staircase leading from the sleeping quarters and kitchen facilities. A new timber staircase, takes the patron up into a loft area overlooking the bar below. Chunky old leather chairs surround a small coffee table with 2 mock-shutter windows opening to the outside. Below, the main bar area is well proportioned and suitably prepared for an evening of jubilant entertainment so easily conjured up by the international troupe of back-backers and other world travelers that frequent the establishment. Reclaimed bricks, corrugated roof sheeting and exposed dark timber roof trusses shape the building into a timeless structure that has a definite sense of belonging.