The Castle carefully restored

by Darren
The castle carefully restored GVK SIYA ZAMA

GVK-Siya Zama is working closely together with Gabriel Fagan Architects to expertly restore the Castle of Good Hope to its former glory.

For the repair and maintenance of the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, GVK-Siya Zama is working closely with award-winning architect Dr Gabriel Fagan, his wife, Dr Gwen Fagan, and Martine Robinson, a longstanding staff member of Gabriel Fagan Architects.

Having been involved with the restoration of the Castle since 1968, the Fagans assessed the building for its cultural, architectural, social and rarity value. The walls, roofs and ceilings were evaluated in terms of safety and value, while the doors, windows and 87 fireplaces were measured and recorded to produce accurate plans and schedules.

With numerous additions made to the building over the past three centuries, the Fagans were challenged with the decision of what to remove and what to retain.

Items that were demolished included a toilet block in the inner courtyard dating back to the Second World War, derelict saw-tooth buildings used for storage and parking, as well as a fig tree that almost obscured the famous Castle bell tower and was blocking the sewers in the front courtyard.   

Recreating elements
The piers on the gateway leading to the entrance were originally crowned by lions with an arched-lamp support between them, but were destroyed by a flagpole that collapsed. The remains were shipped to a special workshop to determine the origin of the clay. Specialist restorer, Jan Corewijn, reassembled the lions, made models and recast them. Today they are kept in the Castle’s museum whilst replicas recline on the piers at the entrance.

The gable on the inner side of the entrance, built by Governor Simon van der Stel in 1684, was struck by lightning and severely cracked. A panorama in the notebooks of former Castle resident, Lady Anne Barnard, in the late 18th century clearly showed the figures of the gods Neptune and Mercury upon the gable. These were reconstructed and the surfaces painted as Lady Anne had depicted them. A similar procedure was undertaken to restore the weather vane above the bell.

Stabilising the structure
One of the most challenging aspects of the repair process has been the refurbishment of the moat, which had been filled and turned into a garden early in the 20th century.

Archaeologists were called in to identify the original stone walls. Mountain water was diverted from the Capel Sloot under Darling Street to irrigate the plants on the banks. In addition, specific vegetation was planted to keep the water clean and, with advice from the Department of Fisheries, fish were added.

Another difficulty encountered was the installation of modern requirements, such as access points for wheelchair-bound visitors, without impacting on the sensitive environment.

According to GVK-Siya Zama project manager Rupert Rademan, the Fagans have challenged them to work with materials and methodologies not commonly used in the last 100 years. “Their expertise has enabled us to ensure that all the history is perfectly captured throughout the building,” he states.

GVK-Siya Zama
Tel: 021 461 6665
Website: www.siyazama.co.za

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