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Hamburg Artist Retreat – Completed 2012 (Hamburg Eastern Cape)
Contract value R38-million
Design, Document, Supervise to Completion as member Imbonofja Architects cc

I had the opportunity to tender on the Hamburg Artist Retreat for Aspire.  The retreat is situated in the small coastal town of Hamburg approximately 100km from East London towards Port Elizabeth.  The retreat was designed to cater for a multitude of arts.

Rural, Artistic, Flow, Private Spaces, Public Spaces, Warm, Sensitive to Landscape, Multifunctional.


The site is situated in a rural setting and created some unique technical design challenges since it needed to be a state of the art facility.


Spaces were to be designed in such a way to promote artistic thought processes.


The flow between spaces was important with each space having a different function within the facility.

Private Spaces

Private space was created by positioning the living units within the natural slope of the site.  This also ensured the view of the Hamburg river was hardly obscured from anywhere within the complex or any of the units.

Public Spaces

Public spaces interact with circulation space to encourage communication between artists.


Spaces within the building had to be warm.

Sensitive to Landscape

The buildings were placed on the site to ensure view over the Hamburg river is visible through most spaces but it was also very sensitively placed to ensure the hillscape where the retreat finds itself was not visually disturbed.