MaC Architects – Holiday Card – 2017

Dec 2017

MaC Architects – Interior Design Portfolio – 2017

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Sept 2017

Building Garden Buildings
Sustainable Architecture, Green Roof

Green Roof of Aurecon West, Cape Town

Urbanisation is accelerating around the world and will continue until over 7 billion people live in cities by the end of the century. How, under such conditions, can we reduce energy consumption and ambient noise pollution, improve air quality and people’s well-being?

“In ever denser cities the space for green infrastructure, such as parks and green recreational spots, is being depleted. What is often considered as “green architectural decoration” is, however, an important element in our built environment and should not be underestimated.” This is according to the minds of Arup, and we tend to agree.

Retrofitting cityscapes with vegetation improves the health and well-being of urban citizens. Green building envelopes can help to reduce the urban up-heating (heat island effects), filter fine dust on the streets and reduce noise levels.

Buildings covered in a carpet of vegetation and greenery are sprouting up all over the world – look at Aurecon East by MaC Architects in Century City, Cape Town; One Central Park in Sydney; or Bosco Verticale in Milan.

Measurements were taken in five cities – Berlin, Hong Kong, Melbourne, London, and Los Angeles – to see what impact extra greenery could have.

First of all, plants pull carbon dioxide out of the air and convert it into oxygen. Green coverings also significantly reduce other pollutants in the air, including soot and dust. While a couple of skyscrapers might not fix city-wide smog problems, the Arup study found that pollutants in the air between two plant-covered buildings could be reduced by as much as 20 percent.

Green buildings also cool down our cities by blocking the ‘urban heat island effect’, where buildings and roads radiate heat. Arup modelled what densely populated cities would be like with more green facades, and found that in high-rise cities such as Hong Kong, green buildings could lead to temperature reductions of up to 10 degrees Celsius.

With our planet being robbed of its rainforests and getting increasingly warmer, we could really use some vegetation in our cities to counter these effects.

Another positive impact that’s not immediately obvious is better drainage – with plants and shrubs there to soak up rainwater and delay the time it takes water to get from sky to ground, the damaging effects of flash floods aren’t as severe as well as reducing the pressure on city infrastructure.

Other benefits are better well-being for office workers who can enjoy more nature (and cleaner air), plus a more diverse urban ecology, allowing insects, birdlife and plants to flourish.

The incorporation of green infrastructure will help to reduce energy consumption, improve air quality and people’s wellbeing. As Architects, we are in the driving-seat in terms of designing our cities and as such, it is our responsibility to spearhead such initiatives. The problem of overpopulation and over-densified cities is our opportunity to rethink how the liveability of our cities can be improved upon.

Read or download the full Arup Cities Alive report here.

Arup Cities Alive report – Sept 2016

ScienceAlert – David Nield – 7 Oct 2016

Stunning photos of Europe’s first underwater museum
Such an inspiring idea!

Such an inspiring idea!

View the gallery here

Our latest creation!
The Barn Village

Cape Dutch with a Modern Aesthetic in Franschhoek’s historic core

View the fly-through here

Researchers design one of the strongest, lightest materials ever created:

10 times as strong as steel but much lighter. Bring it on science…  bring us bigger and better structures.

Read more at News MIT here or watch the video here

Modern Space:

More of a commodity than shelter for human activity?

All sale of land makes space a commodity that is typically sold to the highest bidder. This is the epitome of the current social ideology of ‘cash is king’. With this ideology at the heart of a design, social behaviour is no longer orchestrated by the exchange-value organisation of architectural space, but rather, the exchange-value organisation of architectural space is a result of the current social materialistic ideologies of humans.

For example, there is undoubtedly some success to shopping mall developments or they would not be such active places. Providing a safe environment that is operational regardless of the climatic conditions or the hour of day, is conducive to convenience; but beyond that, their spacial organisation encourages shoppers to indulge in materialism and consumer greed. Shopping malls (much like the spaces in casinos) disconnect the human mind from a real perception of time by reducing exposure to natural elements such as light, wind, precipitation and temperature fluctuations. Inside these spaces, the mind is bombarded with thousands of lights, colours, images and subliminal messaging that distracts from the psychological draw-backs of the spaces.

In terms of urban place, the spaces around such buildings are cold and unresponsive to the context. The introverted nature of Shopping Centers and their vast, blank facades are guarded by spaces of flows. Vast parking-lots and bottle-necked transport routes create barren thresholds that illicit no human emotion other that frustration, isolation and restlessness.

It can thus be concluded, that the architectural language of a shopping mall promotes the indulgence of the human senses in materialism over social interaction. As an architectural language, shopping malls represent the current social capitalistic virtues of society at large. The question, therefore, is whether or not the social framework on which shopping centers are modeled, is itself moral and or humane.

With this ‘cash-is-king’ approach to Urban Design and Architecture alike, our cities are doomed to fail us in the long-term. Our buildings will not stand the test of time when functional requirements and cultural climates shift. Future generations may look back at the meaningless buildings created and dismiss them as irresponsible, short-sighted, brutal and feeble attempts to solve the programmatic problems of our social context.

It is important to remedy the damage done, for example, to the old main streets of our cities that were once social and cultural hubs. Townspeople, who owned, operated and served the shopper with years of knowledge and friendship, catalysed culture and community. Going forward, it is the responsibility of developers, clients and designers alike to reject the faceless national chains of a ‘cash-is-king’ design outlook and remember the root purpose of Architecture, being humanity.

At MaC Architects, our way of design is the timeless way. It is a people centric way of design that puts human sociability and emotion at the fore. We believe in creating social places for human interaction to take place in an organic way so that our cities may have soulful spaces!

Solar cells becoming even more efficient:

Solar cells efficient

According to Peter Dockrill, solar power is “peaking right now, smashing through cost barriers that previously held the technology back, to the extent that in some parts of the world, surplus energy from sunlight is being given away for free. If we’re ever going to unlock the true potential of solar, we need to think beyond today’s large rooftop solar panels, and examine what smaller, lightweight, and even wearable solar cells could do for us.”

“Our photovoltaic is about 1 micrometre thick,” said engineer Jongho Lee from the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology.

This extreme thinness means one day we will be able to introduce amazingly lightweight solar cells into the building industry, completely negating the dead-weight that normal solar cells place on structures.

The construction industry is typically very conservative: building tends to be among the last industries to try something new. At MaC Architects we are keeping up with the technologies of our time.

Source: AIP Publishing – 24 June 2016 and EurekAlert  – 20 June 2016

Read more at AIP Scitation here and EurekAlert here

Transparent wood:


Nanoscale tailoring: A 21st century take on wood.

“Windows and solar panels in the future could be made from one of the best – and cheapest – construction materials known: wood.

Researchers at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed a new transparent wood material that’s suitable for mass production. The optically transparent wood is a type of wood veneer in which the lignin, a component of the cell walls, is removed chemically.”

“Wood is by far the most used bio-based material in buildings. It’s attractive that the material comes from renewable sources. It also offers excellent mechanical properties, including strength, toughness, low density and low thermal conductivity.”

At MaC Architects we are looking to the future.

Source: KTH Royal Institute of Technology – 30 March 2016

Read more at Alpha Galileo here

World’s tallest 3D-printed building showcased in China:


It may come as a blow to the construction industry, but the era of 3D-printed buildings could soon be enabling safer, cheaper, and more sustainable building practices.

A Chinese engineering and design firm has unveiled the world’s tallest 3D-printed building – a five-storey residential apartment block made from recycled construction materials.

The [3D printing] machine works by printing, layer by layer, large sections of buildings (such as wall panels) using an “ink” made from a mixture of fibreglass, steel, cement, hardening agents and recycled construction materials. These sections are then assembled on site, much like prefabricated concrete, to create the final structure.

3D-printed walls are about 50 percent lighter than concrete walls, but have “much higher strength and toughness”; they won’t crack, that they have strong water-proofing, as well as improved air permeability and heat retention compared to walls made from “common construction materials.

As the team at ArchDaily reports, “the two buildings represent new frontiers for 3D-printed construction, finally demonstrating its potential for creating more traditional building typologies and therefore its suitability for use by mainstream developers”.

”Industrial waste from demolished buildings is damaging our environment, but with 3D printing, we are able to recycle construction waste and turn it into new building materials,“ said Ma. ”This would create a much safer environment for construction workers and greatly reduce construction costs.”

Myles Gough – 29 January 2015

At MaC Architects, we are looking forward to building the future.

Read more at ScienceAlert here

Socially responsible architectural specification:

Electricity generating grass roof - MaC Architects - Building the future

In the temporal world we live in, our time is calling for architects to be socially responsible in their design and decision making. The specification and integration of modern technologies into our building forms and spaces is a step in the right direction.

An example of this kind of ingenuity in the building industry is ‘plastic grass-covered rooftops’ to power your home.

“Each blade is coated with nanowires and indium tin oxide on either side. As the wind brushes the blades, they come into contact with each other, allowing electrons to pass from one piece of grass to the next and generating an electric current as a result (the same principle that causes static electricity). The researchers predict that a 300m² rooftop would produce almost enough energy to power a home on its own.”   David Nield – 14 January 2016

At MaC Architects, we are looking forward to building the future.

Read more at ScienceAlert here

Interplanetary architecture:

3D printed buildings - MaC Architects - Building the Future

“The abundance of water on Mars means we may be able to use it as a resource in future exploration, and according to one architectural vision – which has secured the approval of NASA, no less – it could also make the ideal material for human habitation on the planet.”  Peter Dockrill – 2 October 2015

At MaC Architects, we are looking forward to building the future.

Read more at ScienceAlert here

Building the future:
3D printing will revolutionise the way buildings are designed and built – and could herald a new aesthetic.


This will give architects radical new aesthetic freedom, Bart Van der Schueren predicted. “I see certainly in the coming years a development where architects will be able to become more freeform in their design and thinking thanks to the existence of 3D printing.”  Bart Van der Schueren – 25 September 2013

At MaC Architects, we are looking forward to building the future. Just imagine the forms we will see evolving in our cities.

Read more at Dezeen here or at ArchDaily here

Weekend Argus:

Ingenuity Property Investments goes greener and MaC Architects has been part of the journey.

Green Star Building of the Week:

Aurecon Century City, designed by MaC Architects, has been named Green Building Council SA’s Green Star Building of the Week.

Architect and Builder:

Pearl Valley Golf Estate and Spa, designed by MaC Architects, “Envisaged as the heart of the Pearl Valley community”  Architect and Builder – October 2006

Concrete Trends:

Aurecon Century City, designed by MaC Architects, to seek green star rating.

Earth Works:

Aurecon Century City, designed by MaC Architects, Thinking differently

Property News:

Aurecon Century City, designed by MaC Architects, Awarded SA’s first 5 Star Green Star Rating

SA Home Owner:

1970 Tokai farm house, rejuvenation by MaC Architects, Mountain rejuvenation

South African Property Review:

Aurecon Century City, designed by MaC Architects,                      “Green Building moves into the mainstream” Sarah-Jane Bosch – September 2011

Architect and Builder:

Waterstone, designed by MaC Architects, has been awarded with SAPOA’s Top Award for Innovative Excellence in Property Development: Best Residential Development 2010