During an emotional day on Sunday 11 September 2022, the first 14 re-built houses at Wupperthal were handed back to the owners. The Institute was instrumental in making this happen.

On new year’s eve of 2018, a fire in the small Moravian Mission town in the Cedarberg burnt down many buildings in the Church precinct, and 53 houses in the residential quarter.

Because of the heritage significance of the town, all rebuilding first required heritage assessments, specifications and building plans for each building to be submitted to Heritage Western Cape for approval. The Rupert Foundation initiated a restoration project for the Church buildings with a full team of consultants. There was no such assistance for the houses. The Institute took up this initiative and, managed by CIfA’s Heritage Committee, started the process of documentation. Initial work was greatly assisted by the School of Exploratory Architecture (SEA). Their first intake of students surveyed and roughly documented the buildings. This information was passed on to CIfA. A fairly large group of volunteers gradually whittled away to a core of eight members, recognized below, who travelled out to Wupperthal on numerous occasions to interview residents and check documentation, who undertook the heritage assessments and specifications, and who initiated and participated in the drawing up of the houses.

COVID was a surprising help to the project as many individuals and practices volunteered time during the lockdown to assist with the completion of the house drawings. Those who assisted are also recognized below, with thanks.

By mid-2021 all the house documentation had been completed and submitted to Heritage Western Cape. All approvals were gained and the goal set by the Institute had been achieved.

Preliminarily due to the documentation being in place, the Rupert Foundation agreed to finance the rebuilding of the houses. At the same time however, some of the rebuilding had proceeded but not according to the approved plans, resulting in transgressions that Heritage Western Cape responded to by issuing Stop Works Orders. This impasse has only recently been resolved with Heritage Western Cape and discussions are underway to try and assist these residents to complete their homes.

The initial twenty houses undertaken by the Rupert Foundation however have progressed and will be completed by the end of October this year. Their completion has contributed to the progressive reinstatement of the well-known townscape but more importantly to a community devastated by the fire.

The Institute again thanks, in no particular order, the individuals and practices below who volunteered their time and skills to be part of this re-building.

Wupperthal Re-building – Core Members:
Louise Van Riet
Nellis Beyers
Lisa Scott
Laura Milandri
Claire Abrahamse
Ursula Rigby
Trevor Thorold
John Wilson-Harris

Practices and individuals who assisted with documentation:
Albert van Jaarsveld and students of School for Exploratory Architecture (SEA)
KMH Architects (Ferdinand Olivier)
Rennie Scurr Adendorff Architects
Nicky Duncan
Mariska Schreuder
Tim Ziehl Architects
Elize Mendelsohn
Arc Architects (Gert de Wet)
Greg de Bruyn
Hanmarie Reinecke
Metropolis Design (Jon Jacobson)
Jan Desseyn
Simon McCullagh
Edward Clemence Architects (Peter Clemence)
Young Architecture (Rohan Young)
Emerging Architecture (Eugene da Silva)
Revel Fox Architects
Archilab (Michael Borgström)
Max Voigt
GLA Architects
MBT Architects (Tony Totten)
Hardie van Schalkwyk
Helen Joy Coetsee
Kevin Gadd Architects (Nabeel Enos)
Henk Lourens
Bernard Geldenhuys
In House Design (Jacques van Niekerk)