Help us save Coromandel

In conjunction with VISI 55 hitting the shelves, we’ve launched an appeal to readers to help save Coromandel, the former home of Edgars founder Sydney Press.

Coromandel, situated in the eastern Highveld, is a place of pilgrimage for most South African architects and is regarded as one of the most important pieces of contemporary architecture in the country.

Designed by Italian architect Marco Zanuso, it is owned by a farm workers’ trust that bought Press’s properties after his death and the house itself is leased to tenants. Unfortunately, a recent visit by the VISI team to photograph this iconic building revealed that it is in danger of sliding into ruin.

“Almost every architect and architecture student I’ve met has been to Coromandel, photographed it and feels passionate about the building’s unusual design,” says VISI’s editor, Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly. “A place as important as this should surely enjoy the protection of a heritage trust and VISI intends to do everything it can to facilitate a campaign to preserve it.”

Built of stone and wood, Coromandel consists of a series of passages and rooms virtually concealed under the ground. The dramatic garden, designed by SA gardening great Patrick Watson, is now consuming the house itself.

In her editor’s letter, Jacquie has invited, you, the VISI community, to email her if you would like to support our mission. We’re in the process of setting up a committee to champion the cause, hoping local architects will be inspired to help us draw up a plan of action.

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