Design Philosophy

The primary factors informing the design process are the unique requirements of each client and site. The client is taken through an interview process, so that by determining lifestyle, habits and preferences they can be presented with preliminary concepts that respond directly to an interpretation of their needs and wishes. A house is viewed as a series of spaces for living in both in terms of static places for relaxing and resting, and in terms of the choreography of movement through spaces for daily living as well as entertaining.

Each site has its on requirements in terms of views, orientation, topography, access and micro- climate. In many areas winter and summer seasons have greatly differing prevailing winds, calling for design solutions that must anticipate different seasonal utilisation of the house. Views and north orientation, often conflicting, are carefully considered to provide optimum views and natural lighting.

‘Commonsense’ principles such as maximising summer shading and penetration of low winter sunlight, providing place for the unobtrusive positioning of watertanks, positions for placement of solar panels early in the design stage, and aesthetically unobtrusive means of providing security (by means of sliding shutters for example) where required, are all considered during the design process.

The choice of using timber as the primary structural and often visible material, is largely a personal one, while equally rooted in many practical advantages, including that of being a truly sustainable material. Timbers warmth and tactile qualities provide a welcoming homeliness and closeness to nature. Structurally it has it’s own form of expression, in that it’s structural qualities can inform and provide a logical clarity to the design.

Design and form emerges, along with the interpretation of the requirements of the client, the site, and responsibilities in terms of sustainability, from the influence of the designers own ideals and aims.
These naturally evolve and are re-evaluated over time, but at present, ’Jacques Cronje Timber Design’ can state its design ideals as:

commitment: with an awareness of the relative permanence of buildings in an otherwise transient world, approach each design task with the thoroughness that it deserves.

resonance: with place and nature, in terms of form and materials used, textures and lighting.


essentials: prioritise the ‘essentials’ in the design – coherent volumes and forms, open space living, connection to outside, and natural light.

adaptability: In recognition of permanence vs transition allow for multiple use of areas and adaptability of spaces as the needs of the occupants change.

truthfulness to materials: seeking to use and combine materials for their best use and allowing them to reveal themselves as such; wood as wood, brickwork as brickwork….expressing their natural and tactile qualities and finishes