Kalahari, South Africa

Boutique Bushveld Restaurant

Savile Row were the winning entry in a competition to design a boutique restaurant set within an 120 000 hectare game reserve in the Kalahari. Our approach started with a romantic vision for a little farmhouse, which the guest discovers at the end of a hot summer day in the middle of the vast Kalahari Desert savannah, set below the rocky Korannaberg. The patrons are welcomed into the diminutive 100 year old farm homestead, "Boscia House", yet the main restaurant is still totally invisible, as it is submerged into the earth, and only reveals herself when you exit Boscia House. One's approach to the dining area is down a compacted dirt path, in the sandy Kalahari savannah set amidst the thorn trees.

Due to its excellent thermal lag characteristics, principles of “pit architecture” were used, which is ideally suited to the extreme temperature conditions experienced in the Kalahari. The open inner courtyard opens out to the incredible desert night sky spectacle. The low embedded structures are set around a semi circular courtyard landscaped to bring the surrounding semi-desert bush, into the centre of the dining experience. The show kitchen and indoor dining space is at the end of the courtyard , set beneath a concrete and timber ribbed canopy, enclosed by a sliding copper and bronze screen that represents the scaled desert Pangolin.

Sustainability being a key consideration in our design approach, our research showed a submerged building would require less energy to keep cool in the heat of the day, or in the chilly deserts night. So the decision to set the restaurant into the earth was not only for the utility of hiding the structure, but also due to the known benefits of "thermal lag", found in pit architecture. The design intent is for indoor and outdoor spaces to flow seamlessly into each other so the dining experience indoors although sophisticated is always connected to the raw outdoors. Materiality, colours, details and textures take their cues from the earth but always in a sophisticated and contemporary reinterpretation. The intent is for the spaces not only to be to filled with curated original South African art and furniture, but also with scent of desert herbs, flowers and South African cuisine.

The client awarded Savile Row with this exciting project and has requested design alterations which our practice is currently working on, we look forward to presenting the final outcome in due course.



Year completed

Design Competition




Architecture, Planning & Interior Architecture

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