Duality in Development

03 July 2018

“In the design industry, the constraints can set ou free.” Erik Janse van Rensburg and Eric van den Berg are two halves of the architectural firm WAUW, the team responsible for bringing EIGHT ONN  to life. 

“EIGHT ONN  is a unique project. When you sit on site and take in what’s around you, the constraints come rushing forward, and as they do that, they help show you what you can and can’t do. As we took the sights, sounds and the feeling of the environment in, we started to mould and create the building itself” explains Eric van den Berg.

With this building revolving around having so many characteristics and pieces in perfect balance, WAUW saw very early that the idea of duality would play a massive role in how they brought this building to life. Erik and Eric explain how they took a lot of influences in, both from within their experience and from the outside world, trying to find the right conceptual space to play in.

“We looked at nature, the way it creates balance. The way it repeats itself, its shape and its motif, with each repetition creating something unique that adds to its purpose. We really like the idea of fractals. For instance, if you look at a plant like a fern, it uses the same pattern of elements, in different sizes, arrangements and angles, to create very different parts of itself, each of which has its own reason for being. So we took that conceptual thought and started applying it to the designs of EIGHTONN ” as Erik Janse van Rensburg further describes.

“It helped us introduce the duality of façades. What happens inside is designed to look and feel different to how you experience it from the outside. For instance, we created dappled leaf privacy screens that reflect a macro-image from both outside and inside, providing stillness from within the space, while creating a sense of movement and dynamism when experienced from outside.”

Erik continues to explain that the building works like a living element that spreads out from the centre of the structure. The apartments and the balconies on the corners of the building and the uniquely designed layout of each apartment, are akin to leaves that reflect the same design theory of the central stem but use scale, size and layout to become something different while still being very much part of the whole.

Eric goes on to say, “The building flares open towards the outside, housing the balconies and the living areas. While the sleeping and quieter areas are sheltered and tucked away on the inside of the building, allowing the outside and the inside to take on a different feel when you are in your apartment, giving you different experiences that adapt to what you want out of each part of your home.”

In talking to Erik and Eric, one instantly feels the duality that they bring to the table as halves that head up the WAUW team. They balance each other out, filling in the gaps for one another. They speak with intensity, passion and humility, often going out of their way to reiterate how important the team is, as Erik reaffirms, “We work with an incredible group of people. We learn from one another, and grow together. Our differences as a team are our strengths. For instance, between the two of us, Eric probably sees more of the crazy opportunities, where as I see exactly how to make a lot of that craziness a reality”.

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