By Jody McCutcheon
The hunters of green living have found their quarry. The old rock quarry, that is, known as Blue Rock Lake and located just outside South Africa’s Cape Town, in view of the Hottentots Holland mountain range. This is where architectural firm Swisatec has envisioned an idyllic, sustainable, car-free community.
Simply put, the idea of Blue Rock Village is forty hectares of green living. More specifically, it will be an upcycling of an existing resort at a cost of $900 million into a mixed-use, luxury development project. Self-contained and self-functioning, Blue Rock Village will offer 1,000 apartments and what the developers call the “Santa Luzia Life Style centre,” a community-oriented place in which to dine, shop and socialize among restaurants, boutique stores and entertainment venues. The Village will also boast schools, dollar house, hotel conferencing centre, sports and medical facilities.
Apartment options include one, two and three bedrooms, as well as extra-spacious penthouse suites. Each residential unit will include 2.4-metre, rubber-sealed, thermal-break aluminum double-glazed glass windows; sound reduction floating floors and insulated walls; a water under-floor heating system, which provides your home with a moderated temperature of 22˚C; and a large balcony. Housekeeping and room service are also available.
For sporty types, options abound. Landscaped trails will allow for hiking, jogging and mountain biking. Blue Rock Lake, warm and crystal clear, provides for water sports like waterskiing, wakeboarding, rowing, diving, swimming and rock jumping. Courts will be built for tennis, squash and volleyball, not to mention facilities for yoga and fitness regimes.
The Blue Rock Village ethos revolves around community and sustainability. Apartments will be equipped with many eco-friendly features, including cost- and energy-saving insulation, LED lighting, nine-foot ceilings to facilitate temperature control, self-generated solar power, a central water-heating system and water-management system for everything from shower to irrigation. Appliances are rated A++ for energy efficiency. Finally, buildings will be built and finished using eco-gentle materials and paints free of volatile organic compounds.
Outside the apartments, the Village will also be kind to the planet. As a car-free environment, Blue Rock Village will reduce noxious emissions and be very pedestrian friendly. (Note that underground-parking facilities will be provided to allow residents to store cars for day trips, such as to the nearby Helderberg wine region, Gordon Bay’s sandy beaches or one of many golf courses). The landscaping itself is also green, literally, as the design calls for plenty of vegetation to line cobblestone streets and fill public spaces. Street-side seating areas allow residents to interact with each other as well as with nature.
Think of Blue Rock Village as both a sustainable community and a community of sustainability. Construction is envisioned to begin in September 2016, so patience is paramount, like that of a hunter seeking something of great value.