Knitting historic fabric

2016-06-14 06:00

A R1.5m refurbishment project at Homestead Park is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

The entire site is considered to be of Grade II significance and the portion on which the barn is located is a declared provincial heritage site, explains Johan van der Merwe, Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning.

It was previously a national monument under prior legislation and the site is seen to have historical, architectural, urban, social and archaeological value, he says.

“The barn is the only remaining building remnant of the original Oranjezicht farm homestead and outbuildings, which were constructed by the Van Breda family between 1769 and 1777. It was originally part of a larger farm structure adjacent to the main homestead. Other surviving historic elements include the surrounding werf walls, a fruit weighing scale and a bell tower to the north of the barn,” he says.

The refurbishment comes as part of a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for the overall Homestead Park site, prepared in 2014.

The plan set out a conservation strategy and identified various maintenance actions necessary to ensure that the site’s cultural significance is retained, Van der Merwe says.

“A heritage architect was subsequently appointed to determine the required scope of restoration work to the barn and to monitor the work on site. Indawo Cape are presently contracted to the City of Cape Town for the maintenance of various City buildings and the Homestead Barn repairs are being done through this appointment,” he says.

“A conceptual development framework has been prepared for the site as part of the CMP. This provides a holistic long-term vision for the gradual upgrade and improved utilisation of the precinct. The City is undertaking phased maintenance work in line with this framework. During 2015, repairs were done to the historic Stadsfontein vault and the current repairs to the barn are part of the next project taking place to realise this vision.”

The current work is aimed at repairing structural damage to the walls and addressing maintenance requirements such as limewashing, basic repairs, treatment of timber elements as well as the replacement of the existing asbestos roof with appropriate slate tiles.

As remnant historic fabric, the barn makes an important contribution to the character and significance of the site, Van der Merwe says. “The appropriate maintenance of the building will enable its continued use as a community facility (it is currently leased by the Scouts) and will ensure its preservation for the future. A permit has been issued from Heritage Western Cape (HWC) and the work is overseen on-site by a qualified heritage architect and engineer. A closeout report detailing the findings and recording the underlying fabric and maintenance actions will be submitted to HWC upon completion of the work.”

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