Thoroughbred success

by Darren
terraforce jnl13.1

A Cape Town-based precast block manufacturer, Terraforce, won the Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA) Award for the most sustainable installation.

A Cape Town-based precast block licensor, Terraforce, was awarded the trophy for the most sustainable installation at the recent 2012 Concrete Manufacturers Association (CMA) Awards and 40th anniversary celebrations in Johannesburg.

Out of six trophy winners, Terraforce was awarded the sustainability trophy for the installation of retaining walls and hard-lawn pavers at Cavalli Wine and Stud Farm near Stellenbosch in the Western Cape.

A focus on sustainability
Cavalli Wine and Stud Farm was inspired by a family’s love for saddle horses, but also a passion for providing fresh energy, work opportunities and inspiration to current and future staff, as well the neighbouring communities.

With this passion comes a remarkable commitment to sustainability. All architecture and design are driven by a dedicated initiative to be sustainable and to establish a benchmark for environmental and energy-efficiency. While retaining an agricultural component, Cavalli endeavours to rehabilitate the ecology of the land to promote biodiversity  in the Stellenbosch region.

A sense of space
The first impression on entering Cavalli Wine and Stud Farm is an incredible sense of space, with views of Cape Town to the west and the Helderberg Mountains to the east. This is partly facilitated by the estate gardens that echo the strong geometric lines of the access roads, paddocks and buildings (which include a barn housing stables and an indoor arena, a manager’s house and pavilions on either side of an outdoor arena with bleachers). Their statement is functional and their relationship to the landscape is enhanced by the natural plantings of fynbos and the mountain range.

The buildings on the farm required the construction of level platforms, as well as road access to this area and the rest of the farm. The resulting cut slopes and roads needed to be retained and stabilised. Hannes Bouwer of Bouwer Architects specified Terraforce retaining walls as a stable, low-maintenance and long-term solution to prevent soil erosion. “The rock face blocks, supplied by Klapmuts Concrete, blend with the natural environment, their sandstone colour matching the surrounding soil,” says  Bouwer.

Installed by Terraforce-approved contractors, Dassenberg Retaining and Decorton Retaining Systems, the blocks are plantable and permeable, allowing the landscapers free reign. The result is a balance of large trees, mainly indigenous shrubs, perennials and ground covers that swathe and run alongside the retaining walls, roads and paddocks.

Permeable stabilisation
Between the paddocks, permeable Terracrete hard-lawn pavers, supplied by Mobicast in George, were installed to handle stormwater run-off and add a park-like or pastoral feel to areas normally needing hard paving or tar. Jaques du Preez of Power Construction says: “Because the construction of impermeable barriers on the surface reduces the rate of groundwater replenishment, permeable hard-lawn pavers were installed between the paddocks to  return stormwater back to the ground and to prevent the grass from becoming a mud bath at each gate. In this case, the pavers are placed on 150mm layers of sub-base with core drains at strategic locations. Topsoil in the Terracrete blocks allows for easy establishment of grasses and plants.”

Endemic planting
According to Keith Kirsten Horticulture International (Pty) Ltd (KKHI), a leading horticultural company, the overall feel of the landscaping is very natural and fresh.  “No expense was spared to remodel the indigenous terrain – a  lot of the indigenous plants were chosen to meld in with the endemic vegetation and seed harvested from the prevalent species pool to be incorporated into hydro-seeding new planting areas,” states the horticultural company.

The main background planting consists of carefully constructed fynbos groups – colour-coordinated with particular detail to texture and variety. The existing fynbos lands are interspersed between the working vineyards, dams and waterways, farmland, paddocks and abound with a large diversity of wild flowers, wildlife and atmosphere.
This, and a commitment to planting thousands of species which will attract and feed more wildlife species endemic to the Cape region and floral kingdom, make Cavalli a leading example of an estate willing to contribute to a sustained future of the botanic biosphere of the area.

Tel: 021 465 1907
Fax: 021 465 4047
Website: www.terraforce.com

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