Location: Cape Town
SITE ANALYSIS & RESPONSE
One of the main challenges at the outset of this project is the somewhat low-lying location of the site. Nestled in a valley with dense shrubbery, direct views are obscured from the position of the future dwelling.
However, upon becoming more familiar with the site, the dramatic mountainous landscape opens up when looking up towards the back of the Table Mountain National Park, as well as the Bokkemanskloof mountain range to the south.
The concept for the house is driven by the desire to respond to the feeling of being surrounded by a valley, as opposed to trying to escape it by creating an awkwardly tall structure, which is often the rushed solution to building on similar sites. By directing the orientation of the house inwards, moving through the building elicits the feeling of comfortable enclosure, while the outwards views remain powerful.
Through creating an internal courtyard, immediate contact with nature is established in a beautifully landscaped garden.
Although the focus of the house is on the private landscape, it nevertheless opens up to the mountains through the upward views from the roof terrace. The house is set back onto the 3m building line, thus obviating the need for expensive and unsightly boundary walls or fences.
The house proper is placed along the lower south and east boundaries of the site in order to take advantage of the north and east-facing parts of the location. Architecturally, the dwelling is a contemporary interpretation of a typical “Cape flat roof” or “brakdak” house with timber joists supporting a lightweight floor and/or roof. The careful modular construction of the brickwork is meticulously laid to work with the module of the timber joists to avoid cutting and wastage. The joists are exposed in some places and brought through to the façade to create visual repetition and order.
The brickwork is to be bagged with lime plaster, an inexpensive and richly textured material, which is an appropriate choice because of its subtle aesthetic appearance as well as its ability to allow moisture to escape the wall cavities. Continuing the concept of reveal and enclosure, the spaces of the house vary between light and airy, as well as more intimate cocoon-like spaces.