As a seaside resort Muizenberg is unique in that it is situated in a conservation area with a rich architectural heritage
As a seaside resort Muizenberg is unique in that it is situated in a conservation area with a rich architectural heritage. Besides the Heritage Mile outlined elsewhere, Beach Road has outstanding Herbert Baker-designed houses.
Prominent are the four houses which belong to the Joan St Leger Lindbergh Arts Foundation. The Foundation is housed in Swanbourne, while the holiday house Herbert Baker designed for himself is Sandhills, built in 1899.
It is characterised by many of Baker’s design principles, such as the twin gabled walls enclosing a shadowed, recessed stoep or verandah. Baker also designed the magnificent Vergenoeg on the dunes near Sunrise Beach. The house can be regarded as a smaller version of Groote Schuur. Glenville is a fine three-storey building with enclosed balconies and an imposing staircase. Further down along Beach Road is the former home of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, a Tudor-style cottage known as Blue Mountains.
The Muizenberg village area is a charming precint with narrow streets, Victorian buildings and a most interesting shopping area along Palmer Road. In the last two years the village area has been upgraded and gentrified, without sacrificing its unique architectural heritage.
Much care was taken to preserve the facades in the redevelopment area along upper Beach Road. Brand new apartment blocks, no higher than five storeys, now reflect Edwardian architectrual features in a sensitive redevelopment that followed years of public participation. Similarly, the new apartment buildings along Baden Powell Drive are no higher than four storeys, and much care has been taken erect environmentally sensitive structures with eco-friendly lifestyles.
On the mountainside below Boyes Drive are found the stately homes built in the 1930s – solid family homes that bear testimony to the craftsmanship and quality building of that era. For something more modern, look towards the sun-splashed white houses that adorn the waterways of the Marina da Gama off Zandvlei, offering a relaxing Mediterranean lifestyle without parallel in the South Peninsula.
Muizenberg Railway station is a magnificent Edwardian building with an impressive clock tower. It is built of quarry flagstone and dressed stone from the area. It was opened in June 1913. Rust and Vrede is another Herbert Baker-designed house along Main Road, probably the finest in the area. The house was originally planned for Cecil John Rhodes, but he died before it was completed. It is an H-shaped house with large Cape Dutch gables and exterior teak. Long Cottage, next to Rhodes Cottage, is one of the oldest structures on Main Road. It is believed to have been built in the early 1800s, and is built of local stone and clay. The Spanish-style Graceland was built at the beginning of the First World War. It is one of the grandest mansions along this coast.