De Oude Welgemoed

Tygerberg, Western Cape

The De Oude Welgemoed homestead is a remnant of one of the oldest farms in the Tygerberg District, dating from 1677.  It became one of the largest wine farms in the District by 1823. The farm was sold and subdivided for the development of the Welgemoed suburb in 1948. The historic farmhouse was renovated and converted into a popular restaurant in 1991. The restaurant was damaged during a fire and has been closed in recent years. New owners are planning to re-image the historic building as a contemporary dining and outdoor restaurant space. The historic sensitivity of the site is of key concern and we were approached to prepare a historically sensitive landscape concept for the site.

Historic imagery was consulted to determine important visual axes and historic routes at the farmstead. The design of the courtyard space was simplified to respond appropriately to the Cape Dutch setting of the building within its landscape context. Recent interventions at the site dating from the 1990s do not respond appropriately to the heritage context and were identified for removal.  Strategic interventions in keeping with the character and cultural significance of the site were included in the design to accommodate contemporary uses for the space. Children’s play areas incorporate site appropriate elements such as acorn play structures and stacked apple crate structures.

The use of lawn was minimized due to drought considerations and indigenous water wise planting was incorporated into the design as far as possible. An indigenous aromatic garden buffers the play area, creating opportunities for outdoor learning through play. A potager garden including vegetables and fruiting trees were included around the historic farmstead, taking the historic use patterns of the space into consideration. Seating, as well as a ‘giant’ swing is provided underneath the large existing oak trees as spill out space for the restaurant. The design will attract a vibrant new patronage for the restaurant, becoming a welcoming environment for the families in the surrounding suburbs over weekends. Thereby reinvigorating the historic significance of the farmstead and making it available for public enjoyment once again.