ArchiNet Architects was founded in 1995 by Adriaan (At) Pretorius as a one man architectural practice. The initial purpose was to set up a country wide network of one-man architectural practices, being myself a great believer in the small exclusive hands-on architectural practice who affords his client individual and direct attention, but with corporate backing through association with other architects.
I have been interested in “green” architecture as far back as I can remember, also having been highly influenced by my interest in vernacular architecture during my stay in England and Canada in the sixties. I was fascinated by “Architecture-without-architects” and especially by the architectural space and vistas of small villages in England and Wales, which I often visited. My architectural “Bible” was, in contrast to that of my colleagues, Gordon Cullen’s “Townscape”! I was fascinated by the “Art of Relationship” and the principles of Serial Vision, Indoor Landscape-Outdoor Room, etc., typified by some towns and villages in the UK. Later I could enjoy it further on an extended tour through Europe.
Sadly, the “Art of Relationship” went missing in modern architecture.
Back in South Africa my fascination with vernacular building persisted and I took a new look at especially Platteland Dorpies and Indigenous villages, where “architecture-without-architects” are especially evident.
Even before organic architecture became the new buzz-word, I built myself a lovely mansion in Pretoria based on the architecture-of-nature and the Townscape principles. Since then I bought and read every book on organic architecture that I could lay my hands on.
There is a small and unusual resort near Cullinan to the north of Pretoria, called Konsensus, which consists (I assume it’s still there) of natural caves that was turned into unique habitats. It, however, had no services at all and was restricted to being enjoyed by fanatic nature lovers only. That set me on my quest to build the ultimate green eco-village where the buildings flow into nature to the highest degree, but which also provide comfort and security to the most fastidious occupant. I call this Earth-and-Spirit and the ambition to realize it some day somewhere is still burning.
My many visits to Australia gave me the opportunity to make a study of green building, services and installations. I realized that Australia is far ahead of South Africa with the green building industry and that they are the best people which we in South Africa could learn from, being so close in nature and culture. I visited eco-villages and green buildings from which I could learn most, especially a house in Sydney which is totally independent of any municipal service or installation. I was fortunate to get hold of a book which the owner wrote explaining the installations and services.
I was especially impressed by an eco-village in Currimbin in Queensland and I learned a lot from the developers, who undertook to supply me with information for my green village development in South Africa. Having had contact with the Green Building Council of Australia subsequently, I was impressed by the fact that the sales figures and the increase in value of green residential developments in Australia were higher than that of standard developments. I realized that the time was ripe for such developments in South Africa.
I did not know then to what extent our subsequent power supply problems and water quality threats would prove this correct!
It took me some time to find the right site in the right town. It had to be away from the hustle and bustle, not far from the town centre and not swamped by rows of monotonous housing units or high rise developments. It had to have a “dorpie” feeling.
The site for Rozelle Green Village was the one.
- Adriaan Pretorius, iBuild Properties and ArchiNet Architects.
Omniconsulting was founded in 2015 and is a one man consulting business forming a partnership with archinet architecs and The Vital concept was born
The initial purpose Of the Vital concept was to set up a country wide network of one-man practices in specific fields of eco consulting and services, being myself a great believer in the small exclusive hands-on businesses who affords his client individual and direct attention, but with corporate backing through association with other like minded individuals and corporate brands.