Loedolf House in Malmesbury is a noted historical beacon in the town, and has been a focus of public attention since it was rebuilt and restored, with work completed in 2006. Today, this historic beacon is part of the West Coast College.
The building’s front and rear gables collapsed during 2020 and 2021, as a result of water ingress into the foundations and poor cohesion between its historical and modern building materials resulted in the weakening of its support structure.
An application was made to Western Cape Heritage Council for a permit to repair the dilapidated building, based on the premise of returning the structure to its initial Victorian appearance. This was primarily driven by the context of Malmesbury’s Victorian architectural history and the structural weight of gable construction, which was an added speculative addition. Although the building was erected in the first half
of the 19th century, the appearance of Loedolf House since that time was that of a Victorian building.
Subsequent to the issue of a permit, meetings were held with Swartland Municipality to clarify the way forward, dealing with the approach and especially with securing the structure from a public safety perspective.
Says Lungisa Mbulawa, Principal of West Coast College: “The intended future use for Loedolf House is to be used as a restaurant and guest house that will be managed and operated by the West Coast College Hospitality School, as well as act as a small meeting and conference venue that will allow the students of the college to interact with stakeholders and in doing so gain much needed practical experience.
The current process underway is for the demolition of the building and the removal of damaged structural elements after which detailed safety measurements and investigations will take place before the remainder of the structure can be completed.
The consulting Architect and Engineers will then complete conceptual documentation for the reconstruction and renovation of Loedolf House in-line with the Heritage Western Cape Emergency Permit granted. Each of the next three stages of development will undergo a three-part review and agreement process involving the Swartland Municipality and relevant heritage stakeholders. This mentioned process from the development of the documentation to approvals and execution could possibly not follow a linear process and may result in longer than usual timelines.