The Überport

Every once in a while, a project that does not fit the mould comes along. In this instance it came in the unusual form of a carport. Having done work for this client before, when asked if we could design him a parking structure, we knew immediately that this would not be your standard 6x6m lip-channel carport.

On the one side of the property’s driveway there is a cosmic desert type landscape planted exclusively with cactus and on the other side a romantic forest type garden planted with large trees. The carport, dubbed the Überport, was to be positioned off the driveway on the romantic side between the client’s house and his bike room. This landscape informed the conceptual design of the Überport as a tree or spider like structure with tectonic expression, elevated from the garden, transparent and weaved over the earth to become one with the landscape within which it is located.

The structure needed to rest between the existing trees and their lower hanging branches meaning that a simple square structure would not work. A 3-dimensional survey of the site was necessary in order to ensure that the structure would fit comfortably between the trees leading to the majority of the project being designed purely in a 3-dimensional modelling environment, all in close consultation with the structural engineers and their steel detailer.

The resulting design split the two parking bays and roof structure into two parts with a central gutter, all of which floats above the ground on the spider like legs. The majority of the structure is made from steel with the underside of the canopy and select areas on the legs clad in balau timber. Intersecting lines drawn from the structure of the legs are cut along the balau ceiling cladding to give a visual indication of the structure above and within these lines are recessed LED lights which only become apparent at night, a final touch that the client added in the form of a dark tinted film that hides them away during the day.

A challenging project, with a simple brief that could be loved and detailed to death.


• Small Project Award – Gauteng Institute of Architecture 2020/21
Morningside, Johannesburg