Architecture

Paarl

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Higgovale

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Witsand

The brief for this holiday home was simple. Our clients were empathic about their wish for a home that would not scar the untouched natural beauty of the site. They further wanted to be able to have a visual link with the breathtaking view of the Breederivier mouth from anywhere in the house and a wind free entertainment courtyard. This last requirement was quite a big challenge and was the determining factor in the eventual layout and the design of the roofscape. The gale force offshore wind often blows for days on end and can create strong whirlwinds in courtyards, when deflected over solid building forms. It is therefore essential to create sheltered outdoor spaces. We solved this challenge by breaking up the building form, effectively allowing exit channels for the wind.

This also helped to reduce the scale of the building and effectively merged it with the landscape without compromising the lovely double volume created by exposing the roof structure internally.

A guest cottage was added at the top end of the site to provide additional accommodation for visitors and provide privacy to the entertainment courtyard. This was also a practical way to deal with the cleaning and maintenance of spaces that aren’t used as often as the main house.

Large sliding doors were used to connect the indoor spaces with the view and light is filtered through adjustable louvered shutters. Strategically placed gable windows allow the soft early morning and late afternoon light into bedrooms and living spaces.

Colours for finishes were kept neutral to highlight the colour and texture provided by the external landscape. Dressed stone cladding from Barrydale provides organic texture and warmth to the courtyard

The building envelope and minimal workspace was marked out and strictly controlled during the construction period, to ensure that the pristine natural vegetation was left undisturbed. A timber deck was added to the front of the house on a light substructure to minimize damage to the slope down to the river. The success of the project is reflected in the fact that even though the house was only recently completed, it looks like it has been there for years.

Fresnaye

Our client bought this property for its magnificent views and fantastic wine cellar in the basement. The house needed an update and our brief was simply to open up the kitchen to the living spaces and to redesign the entrance and the access to the pool deck.

The existing house had no features, worth preserving. We decided to do a radical renovation, within the existing footprint and with only a few structural changes. We wanted to introduce a raw edge to the design, using weathered steel, rough stone, natural timber and off-shutter concrete, contrasted with frameless glass, water and white limestone floor tiles.
The south facing entrance court was upgraded into a major feature of the house and integrated with the internal spaces through a glazed wall. A new water feature, running the length of the space, is used to reflect light into the once dark entrance hall and the new study.

The stair well was opened up and the wall separating the entrance from the kitchen was replaced with a sheet of glass, forming a visual connection between these spaces. The new stair was designed as a sculptural element, becoming the focal point of the living space.
For the owner, being an enthusiastic cook and wine connoisseur , meant that integrating the kitchen with the living area was important, when entertaining friends and family. Our client’s state of the art record player and extensive record collection is housed in a bespoke wall hung unit, which runs along the entire length of the dining room and lounge. A timber clad fireplace was inserted, into the unit to form a focal point in the lounge and to transform it into a cosy haven during winter.

On the first floor level we redesigned the main bedroom suite as an integrated whole. A solid timber bath sits on a raised plinth in front of a glass wall, which offers a view of the lush tree canopy just outside. The warmth of solid Kiaat teamed up with travertine tiles and frameless glass, gives the space a feeling of luxury and indulgence.

Externally we installed frameless glass balustrades on the patio to ensure uninterrupted views of the city and ocean below. We replaced the tile and gravel floor finishes with synthetic grass to prevent heat buildup from the west facing patio transferred to the adjacent bedrooms. The lovely soft texture underfoot, invites you to kick off your shoes and come outside.

An off shutter concrete stair links the garden level pool deck with the entertainment patio on the ground floor. The hardwood timber decking connects the spaces visually and transforms it into an enticing leisure area.

Slatted timber screens and cladding adds texture and warmth to the modernist exterior.

Camps Bay

We were approached by the new owner of this house, to help him make some minor changes to the very unlovely structure. He wanted to sell it on as soon as possible. The design process, which the client actively participated in, led to a realization that this might after all be a home that he would want his family to live in.

Creating a large double volume space over the lounge area was the key to transforming the house into a modern light filled home. Steel, stone and glass was employed to create a natural palette of colours, echoing that of the beach and the ocean in the bay below.

We replaced the existing roof with a contemporary monopitch structure on steel rafters, expressed under the eaves, to add detail. Large glazing panels were inserted on the font façade, to open up the house to the magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean. On the Eastern façade, clearstory windows and a double volume window above the stair landing, allows views of the twelve apostles which was previously excluded. The first floor balcony was replaced with a light weight steel structure. A double story glass box was built as an extension to the dining room and the main bedroom, creating informal lounge areas.

The existing pool deck was demolished and replaced with and extended entertainment area. An infinity pool, set into a timber deck, overlooks the ocean in the distance.

Bantry Bay

The original house was built by an architect in the 1930’s as his family residence. It had the beautiful proportions and timeless decorative details so typical of the era. During the seventies, the then owners made extensive renovations to the house, turning it into a faux Spanish villa. When the new owners purchased the property it was in an advanced state of disrepair.

The brief for the property was to maximize the existing structure and to create an elegant, timeless space, retaining some of the classical architectural features and adding slick modern interiors.
Investigations into the history of the house and structure, informed the design philosophy, to return the house to its original form, updating the exterior circulation and entertainment areas with lightweight steel and timber pergolas, which would double as shading devices, protecting the north-west aspect of the house from the harsh afternoon sun in summer.
Internally, communal spaces were consolidated, and the bathrooms and bedrooms reorganized into well-functioning private spaces. Stripping away unnecessary walls created an effective circulation axis through the house. The ultimate goal was to turn the once dark and gloomy interior into welcoming spaces filled with natural light.

In line with the approach to re-use as much of the existing structure as possible, some of the original timber floors, two original Victorian sash windows and an inter leading door were re-used. These were painted in contrasting colors, making them prominent features. Doors were given extra height to accentuate the high ceilings. Traditional steel framed external doors and windows were used, to complement the character of the original house. Polished marble floor tiles speak of tradition, whilst providing a modern edge to the scheme. The neutral color palette ties together the traditional architectural features, with frameless glass elements, the sleek fireplace and minimalist open plan kitchen.
The external spaces surrounding the house are arranged in a series of courtyards, each linked to an internal space. Each courtyard has its own water feature, visually connecting the indoor and outdoor spaces. The rest of the garden was terraced to reduce the impact of the steeply sloping site. The designers worked closely with the landscapers to turn the garden spaces into areas that would offer a physical and spiritual retreat from the busy road below the house.

SUMMER HOUSE
One of the best features of the property is the unobstructed views of Table Bay. In the garden at the top end of the property, a previous owner prepared a platform for future development. Here we created an entertainment area, which offers a retreat from the rigors of daily life. The summer house is designed as a modified shed structure, in contrast to the exquisite main house. Comfort is provided with a fireplace for winter and irresistible couches for lazy afternoons. The entire front façade of the summer house opens up onto the lawned pool deck which terminates in an infinity pool. The summer house is equipped with a kitchenette and indoor braai, offering the necessary home comforts to ensure the perfect entertainment space for long, leisurely summer or winter days.