A signature visitor centre designed for The Hopewell Conservation Estate, a pristine nature reserve and housing estate located in Port Elizabeth, has received the 2013 regional award for architecture from the Eastern Cape Institute of Architects.

The building was designed is by award-winning Durban architect Richard Stretton of Koop Design, and overlooks one of the densely vegetated valleys in the three thousand hectare Hopewell nature reserve.

The building was deliberately designed with a specific palette of materials – timber, steel and glass with polished concrete finishes using aggregate from surrounding ground, thereby creating a visual continuity between the natural surrounds and the man-made building.

“We are delighted with the award as it confirms that Hopewell is at the cutting edge of both design and creating a sustainable residential estate within an urban nature reserve,” property developer, Brian Corrigan.

“The building is finely detailed and crafted and well-made. The project provides a benchmark for both the design and construction of the residences, which are to follow, while being a piece of jewel-box architecture in its own right.”

Work has started on the first houses in the estate, which on a nature reserve that is home to a number of local species, including the rare and endangered Cape Mountain Zebra.

“We are deliberately offering a more contemporary design option for nature lovers, who want to be able to commute daily to work from a beautiful natural environment which they share with a range of flora and fauna endemic to the area,” says Corrigan.