Design It Yourself.

This doesn’t mean you don’t need an architect… quite the contrary. You most definitely do (as mentioned in our previous blogs ;)).

Perhaps we should have said DIYWA, Design It Yourself With an Architect, but that doesn’t have the powerful ring to it that we’re looking for.


Jacques Terblanche is the man behind Orbic Architects. The guy upstairs. We say this because his office is literally upstairs.

Come see for yourself, we have great coffee* and very friendly staff… 

Jacques graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from NMMU (UPE) in 1990 and is currently the Principal, and an architect, at Orbic Architects.

He’s been in the architectural business for over 30 years so we thought we’d tap into his brain ever so slightly for some juicy knowledge.

So let’s start from the very beginning…  (a very good place to start).

How did you know you wanted to get involved in architecture?

I was fortunate enough, when growing up, to have had many practical opportunities in my father’s garage workshop which he made available for us to work and mess around in. This coupled with my enjoyment of Technical Drawing in High School and my inquisitiveness toward figuring out how and why things work got me interested in designing pieces. After doing a short course in draughting, I was certain that becoming an architect would fulfil the additional aspects of creativity and business, together with that of design and draughting.


Advice for anyone wanting to follow in a similar manner?

Anyone interested in studying architecture should, if at all possible, travel the world, and read about architecture and various architects, history and design before embarking on this road. Know yourself and your attributes and follow your instincts with regards to which aspects of architecture you would excel in. It can be a very broad field with many exciting opportunities as it is not only limited to the buildings themselves.


When did you start ORBiC Architects and how did you come up with the name?

Orbic commenced business in January 2009 when two practices, Artech Architects and SDV, decided to merge.

The name Orbic stems from Orbis, a complete circle without loose ends. There were not going to be any loose ends between the two practices, once joined.

This represents what we stand for in business and ethics.


What drives you to design?

We all appreciate the good and beautiful in life, however, it is true that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

Simple, practical and timeless architecture has always inspired me. The secret is for simplicity and practicality to work together and become a beautiful design that allows the user to seamlessly transcend from the external to the internal within the spaces created.


The million-dollar (rand) question: what approach did you take when designing your own house?

Doing a house is a complicated matter but doing it for yourself holds additional challenges. It is important to build up a client profile, especially if it is yourself you’re designing for, and designate one person to financial responsibilities.

Site selection was a major factor to initiate the design of my home. Personally, open areas, space and utilising the vistas from the site were of importance, together with simple, practical design solutions. It is recommended to use inexpensive details to enhance the design and understand the unit dimensions (i.e. tile sizes if that’s the flooring you’re choosing) and what influence these will have on the design layout as well as costs.


Your best advice for those designing their own house?

  1. Choose the right partner … building isn’t easy.
  2. Use an architect, if you aren’t one yourself.
  3. Work within your budget, with no compromises. Try and save as much as possible before you embark on the actual process of contracting, to be able to negotiate and perhaps buy finishes and the ‘nice to haves’ during and towards the end of the building process.
  4. Find a builder/contractor that has the same values and interests at heart as what you have, one with which you will still have a good relationship after the contract has ended.

Considering the above when embarking on the process will enable you to know what to design and how to execute the project effectively.


 *We are serious about that coffee – it’s good!

Pop in to see us in Mbombela.

Unit 07 Riverside Park Circle, 9 Waterlily Turn.

Riverside Park Ext 12.

NOTE: if you arrive on Fridays at 10 am, there’s a great chance you’ll get a tasty treat or 4.