Up North Architect is a registered architectural firm founded in 2019 by the Principal Architect Ratidzo Gumbo. There’s a team of other architectural technicians whom Gumbo is encouraging to become registered in order to eventually take over the company. Up North Architect works with various specialists in the built environment such as mechanical and electrical engineers, structural and civil engineers, quantity surveyors, various contractors, landscape designers, interior décor specialists and many others in the field of design and construction.
According to Gumbo the services they offer can be broken down in to three distinct stages.
1. Project stage – which includes initial conversations with the client on their vision for the project, a site analysis and the concept design work. The site analysis also includes engaging local authorities on either building restrictions and the necessary permits required for any building project.
2. Contract Management – Up North Architect manages and works with other consultants on the project including the quantity surveyor, engineers and interior designers to finalise the plans.
3. Construction Supervision Stage – This is similar to project management where Up North oversees the various contractors up to the completion of the finished product.
Gumbo goes on to say, “We are radical artists/creatives who are not limited to a specific design style. Our design styles are largely influenced by our clients and their tastes and preferences. Overall our design intent is to produce something sustainable and trendy.
One of their recent was the design and construction of an outdoor gazebo and entertainment space for a client in the Kamfinsa area to complement their existing pool and indoor bar. The available space was quite restricted but the design is unique, minimalist and elegant. It’s multi-functional and includes some existing outdoor equipment like the owners’ braai stand.
The deck includes a comfortable sunken seating area with timber cladding and a firepit for cosy evenings. Steel slats provide sheltering barriers on two sides and also form a roof over the seating area. The roof has been covered with translucent sheets and there’s outdoor lighting so the space can be enjoyed in any weather. During wet or windy weather, the steel framed canopy can be covered with canvas.
The barbeque is gas fired and the fire pit operated using charcoal or wood. The use of both heat options was to ensure the sustainable use of both types of fuel. Exterior walls of the structure have been clad in broken tiles which are elegant and low maintenance.
A few current projects include managing the construction supervision of a multi-storey office building in the CBD and a four storey block of one-bed residential flats in the Avenues. They are also managing the construction supervision of a double storey residential house which they designed in Borrowdale Brooke. They have recently completed design work for a senior school in Harare, cluster units in Borrowdale and Greendale and are now working on a master plan for the development of a gated community sitting on 350Ha on the outskirts of Harare.
To contact Up North Architect:
Text by Michael Nott
Photos by Structure and Design
Plans and renders by Up North Architect