Architect Stan Field of Palo Alto, California, a leader in green building design, has teamed with two South Africans, Marita Nell of Elements Architecture in Stellenbosch and Torro Contracting of Hluhluwe, to design The Reeds at Balgowan, the first eco-development in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal. "We are building homes in harmony with Nature," said developer Donovan Neale-May. "We have taken a completely non-traditional approach to creating simplicity, sustainability and clarity of form, function and user-friendliness in a bio-diverse and sensitive wildlife area." Neale-May, a South African based in Silicon Valley and working globally, heads the Global Renewable Energy and Environmental Network (GREEN), among a number of other worldwide affinity networks. He has spearheaded a number of international programs to promote green technology and more responsible environmental management practices. The Reeds at Balgowan is his first residential development project. The development used preservation of the natural landscape as the guiding factor. The design methodology of the buildings demonstrates a holistic approach to the environment and the use of eco-sensitive construction techniques and materials, combined with energy efficiency and general conservation, to limit the impact of man-made structures on the landscape. "It is a true eco-estate without any artificial concepts imposed on the landscape such as a golf course, a vineyard, an equestrian center, or agricultural activity," Nell said. The Reeds at Balgowan exemplifies the spirit of "UbuntuLiving" with unique, environmentally-sensitive homes that celebrate the bio-diversity of KwaZulu-Natal's Midlands Meander.
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