'n Plaasdorpshuis - Our brief was simple - Create a home where you are constantly aware of the beautiful mountains surrounding you, the reason so many give up city life. As architect and client I could explore my intense appreciation for our local honest farm structures, and use it as inspiration for our new home. The simplicity of the functional corrugated structures found on every farm in South Africa and the honest use of local raw materials. The house is designed on a property that borders on a nature reserve to the north and being on the historical bank of the eerste river is slightly raised, this allows for uninterrupted views over the tree tops onto the magnificent mountains surrounding Stellenbosch.
2015 : Award of Excellence - Cape Institute of Architecture
2016 : Award of Merit - The South African Institute of Architects
A treetop house on the edge of a cliff; a forgotten house, in one of Johannesburg's oldest suburbs, was transformed for modern living. A sanctuary in the middle of the city. A solid cliff-like structure, opening up like caves into the tree canopy. Dry-packed stone walls, characteristic of the suburb were used as the main design element. Leading you in from the motor court, across a sandstone bridge to the front door, experiencing the outside forest room with the pool below. Stone walls also intercept the existing structure, creating slices where sunlight is pulled in through slots in the roof. The main living space on the upper level opens up towards the North, to allow the forest in, like a stage set. To the East, the space flows onto a covered terrace, cantilevered into the tree tops like a tree house, where different moods of the forest can be experienced.
Contemporary farm house nestled between old acacia trees and rocky outcrops, typical of the highveld landscape.
Situated on a koppie overlooking the rantjies toward the northeast of pretoria. the majestic view is sensitively framed by carving out the thick thermal walls and in return creating deep shadows on elevation which serves as sun control.
A brick vaulted gallery acts as a circulation spine which connects a series of barn structures. these barns accommodate various functions of the building, such as a 'waenhuis' and entrance to the south, bedrooms and living areas to the north and dining and braai terrace to the east. The large stoep serves as an overflow area from the living areas, which is an added benefit during the hot thunderstruck summer months.
A historical stone reservoir was retained and re-used for water storage. this forms the backdrop of the swimming pool and 'boma' which is carved into the landscape. the material pallet consists of wood, brick and glass, creating a natural grain throughout the building.
The body of textures engraved within the building personifies the client's lifestyle and love for nature.
This seaside holiday house on the rocks at De Kelders, Overberg Cape South Africa, is a careful sculptural interpretation of our clients' very specific brief.
It is a ship-lapped chamfered box-like structure sunk into the sea-facing slope with its only open side facing the view over Walker Bay, breeding haven for Southern Right Wales.
Exposed to all its neighbours and famous Cape winds, this structure provides for a totally private and sheltered courtyard. entering at the higher street level through a solid wall, one is guided down a ramp into the spectacular sea view unfolding across the courtyard and through the main living space edged with a sea facing verandah with its low slung corrugated verandah roof protection against the harsh Western sun.
This sheltered courtyard is the heart of the house, sun is drawn in and plays against the highly sculptural walls. The living areas facing the sea form transitional spaces managing the elements and view with its glass and aluminium shutters, which can be moved into cavity walls allowing all year round enjoyment of the courtyard.
Every room in the house has a sea view, even the two guest suites across the courtyard with its wet room type bathroom and dressing areas.
Whale wathcing is done from the partially covered sun deck on the roof completed with fireplace, daybed ledges and a cabin.
The architectural language is derived from the old ship-lap timber and corrugated cottages found along the Cape Coast.
A house to experience the tallness of the trees, with tall openings to view the treetops, and an outside room with giant tree trunk structures reaching for the sky. Surfaces textured and curved for the shadows of the branches to play on. A sculptural house with tranquil courtyards filled with terra cotta shapes, some reminiscent of varied african sculpture, others of the clients’ Spanish heritage. monastic living space that can be converted to a dining hall for traditional family feasts.
“Build me a very colourful house, with larger than life spaces, for my extended family”
Brightly coloured over scaled simplistic shapes were woven around the large trees on the vast property, nestling like giant colourful sculptures in amongst the trees. You are pulled into the house by a cerise fish-like shape across a pond, passing the ribbed double volume pyramid with glass cap. At the entrance hall you are greeted by the ox-blood study and the butter yellow main living space, this leads onto the outside entertainment area with reflection/evaporation pond and Frieda Kahlo-blue hot tub room at the back. The children’s wings extend into the garden, linked back to the house with an art gallery radiating around the oldest tree in the garden.
Our client bought one of the most breathtaking views in the country, and commissioned us to build him a holiday compound for his family, scattered around the globe.
The site is situated on a pre-historic sand dune overlooking the Swartvlei estuaries. We created a hill top bastion-type sandstone structure, growing out of the pre-historic dune and topped with a wide brimmed floating roof. The structure and its courts give refuge from the harsh exposed elements but also opens up to enjoy the outside spaces and spectacular views. The disappearing edge pool melts into the lagoon on the west and the sea views can be enjoyed from the east upstairs viewing platform with floating fire ring. The design allows for large family gatherings but one can also retreat to your own private bedroom upstairs, where the large roof overhangs protect the glass walls allowing for maximum views. sandstone, glass and wood were the only materials used creating the specific atmosphere.
We were commissioned to design a home for a young family with two adventurous boys. the clients bought a hectare stand in a rural estate with koppie and magnificent view over the landscape to the east of Pretoria. They wanted a home where all of this could become part of their lives. the design consists of a series of over scaled, red, 'ysterklip'; walls reminiscent of the dry-packed kraal walls in and around Pretoria. These stone walls, housing all the services, were staggered and positioned in such a way to create sheltered spaces between them, privacy from the neighbours on the sides and their main function; to concentrate and frame the important east and the west views. All the stone were collected from the site. carefully placed roof lights allows north light to wash into the house against the stone walls, compensating for the east/west orientation of the site.
An entertainment barge, straddling a circular lake. built on circular pivot irrigation seedling platform of a redundant plant nursery. This is a house for entertaining, all spaces flows into one another and opening up directly onto the waters edge, to the north moat-like swimming pool, to the south the kitchen floating on a koi pond with a curved stone wall as backdrop, to the east a morning courtyard, and to the west a tree-filled court filters the western sun. The deep recessed northern facade acts as sun protection to the sculptural openings. The bedrooms are at first floor level, for privacy, and to optimise the spectacular views of the landscape. the master suite is separated from the other bedrooms with a double volume space, and liked with a library bridge. local sandstone floors, in a herringbone pattern, and cementious wall finishes, with stained timber shutters used throughout.
Set along the outskirts of a well-established neighbourhood, this plot-like stand is very unique as it opens completely towards the majestic Stellenbosch mountains in all directions. The site is a rather challenging wetland area, with beautiful connection to a natural stream with reeds and wild flowers.
This contemporary Cape farm-style home has two barns; both north facing with linking elements around a central courtyard. The one barn houses family bedrooms and main living spaces, which spill out onto a corner wrap around veranda and lap pool. The south barn accommodates a personal study, gym and garages, with guest en-suites in the loft space. The French oak farm kitchen and abutting braai stoep link the two barns and form the most popular gathering space of the home.
A very modern approach to Cape Vernacular Architecture is clearly visible in the overscaled deep gable walls, external staircases, large abutment stores, white walls with dark grey Victorian profile roofs and dormer windows. Internal finishes are simple and robust; a superb mix of klompje tiles, timber floors, and all white bathrooms – all reflecting the sophisticated energetic family which this home serves.
Two red canoes on the rivers’ edge. A weekend retreat one hour outside of Johannesburg on the banks of the Vaal river. The building reflects the typical rural farm architecture in the area, simple low pitched red corrugated iron roof barns with red oxide steelwork. Low maintenance finishes and basic built-in fittings were essential, the local red mud and cement mixture was applied to the walls, and old fashioned red floor polish on cement floors reminds of the local vernacular african mud huts.
Privacy and river views determined the position of the buildings in their indigenous setting, the only intervention by man - the lawned terrace for the children. entertaining takes place in the southern block, with one space leading onto a terrace overlooking the farm dam-pool and river; The opposite side leads onto the courtyard with the games room beyond. The bedroom block, the sanctuary to retreat to, consists of 4 suites, each with its own unique views and courtyards. a house for weekend relaxing.
2004 : City Scape Architectural review award
2005 : Award of Merit - The South African Institute of Architects
Our brief was to design a holiday house for the family to grow into. We created a village with holiday cottages for each kid, the cottages could function as individual units and form part of the main family house. The wind protected court forms the heart of the house with its verandah on two sides for lazy relaxing around the pool. The four simplified Karoo barn structures were carefully placed around the courtyard to maximize on the sea views to the east and the mountain views to the west. Over simplified structures with delicate galvanized steel detailing and carefully proportioned, and placed openings create a light holiday Architecture with a contemporary reflection on the vernacular. The fynbos around the house were protected and will be allowed to grow back against the house.
Our client, master chef Etienne Bonthuys, appointed us to create, in collaboration with land artist Strijdom van der Merwe, a dynamic artwork; a space in which patrons could have an exceptional culinary experience.
The building, which was to be rehabilitated to house the restaurant, was an 1800 double story, Edwardian 'dorpshuis'; with covered verandahs up- and downstairs, which were added at a later stage. In 1972 lean-to structure and 1980 double pitched structure with a raised terrace protruding into the garden were added to the back of the house.
RIght from the outset we decided not to tamper with the original 1800's structure, as we felt that architecturally it was fulfilling its rightful place in the historical layering of Dorp Street. In respect for the historical core of Stellenbosch, we did not want any of our modern additions to be visible from the from Dorp Street. We decided to concentrate our efforts on the insensitive structures at the back. We wanted to keep to the existing foundations so as not to disturb this archeologically sensitive site any more than what was necessary. We stripped the additions of all finishes, exposing the bare structures and demolished the south-west corner of the 1980 addition, opening the structure onto the terrace and the garden. Any additions would be non-permanent removable structures, the one being the pergola and the other the post box red container housing the cold room.
Only 50 meters from the False Bay breakers, this holiday home rises from behind the dense dune vegetation, on one of South Africa's rare north facing beachfront sites. breathtaking views meet the eye; from the bay to the river mouth and the mountain range which dramatically bleed into the sea.
This stretch of coastline is notorious for high winds and rough seas, suggesting a simple robust cave-like structure with openings strategically placed for optimal views and sunlight.
The building mass turns its shoulder to the wind, creating a protected area to the north, facing the sea, from where a sundeck floats lightly between three over-scaled galvanised steel columns & beam legs and functions as the main outdoor living space and link to the beach.
The living core, with the main suite on top, opens up towards the sea with an enormous picture window demanding your attention. At the opposite end a double volume dining area and door opens the space to reveal the leaning Hangklip Mountain behind.
The client, an avid underwater photographer, required generous amounts of wall space to display images taken from his journeys around the world.
With the rough textured walls acknowledging the rugged Hangklip Mountain behind, a muted colour palette blending in with the natural surrounding and the galvanised steel & concrete elements adding a rich texture layer, the house is truly an honest, functional structure and a very special place by the sea.
Quietly nestled between its neighbours, this "corrugated iron" beach house offers endless holiday living, while still preserving the historical significance of this unique beachfront area. Our brief was to replace an existing asbestos holiday cottage with a new holiday experience to accommodate a growing family of 3 generations. The design was to be versatile to allow various guest configurations at different holiday times.
our inspiration was found in the scale, simplicity and character of the typical Stilbaai fisherman's cottage vernacular, complete with its different clapboard and corrugated claddings, simple raised cottage structures and typical "aanplak" extensions.
The structure is reminiscent of the floating structures unique to the Still Bay beachfront. Instead of a traditional raised-pole structure, our structure floats on a perforated concrete retaining structure, built on seabed level, protecting it from tidal corrosion and the active fresh water spring found on the site. The "aanplak" / lean-to sea-facing stoep is enclosed with a double layer glazed and louvered skin, allowing the structure to open up completely to protect from rain, sun, wind and unwanted visitors when unoccupied.
Although the design of the house is sophisticated, details of the screen, shower screens and gates reflects the elementary designs of yesteryear.
on a perfect day, most of the walls disappear and the house becomes an open gazebo on the beach.
"De-fleshed fish bones protruding from the dunes"
Our client commissioned us to create a relaxed, informal and private holiday retreat for them, their extended families and friends. A house where they could enjoy and be one with nature and the sea. The site is in Boggoms Bay: a remote Western Cape South African seaside village. It is situated on the edge of the built-up area abutting a nature reserve with its dunes covered with wind sculpted vegetation. The site allows for complete privacy and also have breath-taking views over the bay and the dunes. Although the site is small, the client's accommodation requirements were extensive, we therefore developed the stand to its maximum and borrowed visually from the reserve to create a sense of space.
A daunting challenge for residential architects today is to create good architecture when working in stifflingly regulated themed estates.
This is our attempt to create a good building exploring the ‘Cape Vernacular Architecture’ asked for.
The plan and building forms are traditional, but we overscaled the proportions of openings, ‘boggelkaggels’ and chimneys. This also allowed for more light and sun to enter the spaces.
The detailing is kept very simple with uneven wall surfaces mimicking thick walls and sculptural cut-out picture windows, and buttresses.
Internal spaces remind of the traditional with simplistic and minimal finishes; textured walls, timber floors, exposed timber roof structure and ceilings.
A young family living the house to its full utilizing the private and semi private spaces very successfully.
Careful consideration were given to orientation, insulation, ventilated roof construction, etc. to allow the alternative energy pellet system to work optimally. The house is cooled by a low energy evaporative system.
The grey water is recycled and the house is surrounded by a natural fynbos garden and a vegetable garden. The pond is a natural pond with natural reed bed filtration.
The design of 101 Dorp Gallery & Studio was mainly driven by the need to conserve the historical significance of the site. The building does this by assuming a modest position in the historical Dorp Street scape. The new double story facade is half hidden behind an ancient oak tree and its timeless aesthetics allows it to blend with the historical buildings on either side and across the road.
The street facade is punctured by a high, carefully proportioned gateway opening, taking its reference from the neighbouring historical buildings. The tall, frameless glass doors in this gateway ensure constant visual interplay between Dorp Street activities and the gallery space. The 'heritage-green' laser-cut steel security gates also take their reference from similar 'waenhuis' doors in Dorp Street.
2011 : Award for Architecture : Cape Institute of Architecture
2012 : Award of Merit - The South African Institute of Architects
Dertien is holiday home that was build for a family of five with lots of friends. The challenge was to build a house on a small property, that would blend in with the character of the fisherman’s cottages surrounding it, that would have enough accommodation, and that would have living areas, spacious enough to accommodate large groups of people.
The house was build in an H-shape, with a front as well as a back verandah. This is the ideal shape to be able to be outside, but yet, be protected from the wind. The shutters in front of the doors and windows can be closed for security, but still allow ventilation through the house.
Simple finishes were used, creating a casual atmosphere, encouraging uncomplicated, comfortable holidays.
In the meantime, Tientjie has changed ownership and is now known as Wolfgat. Chef Kobus van der Merwe, with his own unique style, nowadays serves his amazing ‘dune food’ on the verandah with the phenomenal view.
When the Slee’s saw an old dilapidated fisherman’s cottage with “the most incredible view in the world”, it was an opportunity that they could not resist. The old cottage, of which all the windows were bricked up to keep the vandals out, got a new lease on life when the interior walls were broken down to enlarge the inside spaces. A verandah was built along the length of the house. Large glass doors opening onto the verandah were installed in all the rooms.
The Slee’s loved the story of the house that was told by the colourful flaking layers of paint which had been applied to the walls over the years and therefore they retained the patina of the house with great care. Thus, a dilapidated old cottage became a comfortable, colourful, one bedroomed house with a lovely view over the sea.
Die Landhuis, a dwelling between the mountain and the sea at Hermanus
The clients agreed with the architect that it was a house and not a shelter that they were looking for. A house, like a farmhouse with many hidden areas where grandchildren could hide to read, to dream and just to be and not be found easily.
The main house is almost a square, with two wings jutting forward into a fynbos garden, providing shelter from the wind when one is sitting on the wide veranda in front of the house, and perfect privacy from neighbours on both sides. A small mountain pool-like swimming pool is on a lower level than the front gate which leads into another more informally designed fynbos garden with another small gate leading onto the street. The one wing comprises the plant house which also serves as a storing area for pool and garden equipment, as well as an extra room, bathroom and secret garden which can be used as servants’ quarters or an extra visitors’ suite, while in the second wing there are two suites, both with bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs, a bedroom upstairs designed for two children, and a secret rose garden with a fountain.
One enters the property down an aromatic olive and lavender-flanked driveway, and reaches an automatic farm gate.
Most of the shuttered windows and doors in the house were made from sturdy teak salvaged from demolished houses in India, all clearly from the Victorian era. (India was under British control since 1858 and Queen Victoria became Empress of India in 1877.) These windows and doors contribute to the specific patina of the house. Thisisa dwelling in which anybody can spend a life-time, but certainly also a house where one can finally come to rest after many years of hard work - a beautiful place, a work of art in its own right, a balm for the soul and a tribute to its architect.
The term “peace” could easily have found its origin between the outeniqua forest and the long open atlantic ocean, both of which are an integral part of this holiday home. An elegantly crafted box floats on top of tree tops towards the north and sensitively touches the sand dune on the south. a single level building with a large open living / dining area separates the private en-suite guest rooms to the east and the main bedroom suite to the west. All rooms capture nature’s elements and reminds of a contemporary Knysna log cabin, with engineered wood fitted to the majority of the interior.the slow life enters upon a sea breeze through large sliding doors from the South and retires on an outenique hill to the North. These large sliding glass and shutter panels regulates light and ventilation, but simultaneously extends the interior to the exterior. finishes are simple, natural and in touch with this sea town’s context. The core of this holiday home will always be in harmony with nature
Deeply cut into the hilltop of an old sea town, and tightly nestled between existing buildings. Here form followed function to create a family and friends holiday destination. material finishes are simple, light and toned down and welcomes any decorative pallet. Three levels with separate functions ensure practicality, but also provides privacy when the house is fully occupied. The basement caters for adequate parking and accommodates all services. A lift and staircase provides easy access to all levels
Ground level accommodates five private en-suite bedrooms with spectacular sea and mountain views. The staff quarters, linen and washroom is pivotal to the house and assists in separating the various rooms. The upper level allows for reminiscence, but casually caters for any social occasion with large glass and aluminium sliders opening onto a north and south terrace. The management of these sliding panels creates for interior areas to overflow onto the open and covered terraces. the main bedroom suite on upper level soaks up the ever-expanding horison. This allows the client to use the upper level as a luxury apartment
A site with twenty-five meters fall and 60-degree slope, filled with cape granite rock, exposed to all of nature’s elements in its fullest glory. Spectacular views of Table Mountain, Cape Town harbour, the Winelands’ mountains and deep into the West Coast. All of this was to be considered before commencing with the brief. The client had very clear concepts and assisted in crafting the design, with Japan always being at the core of all decisions.
“Shou-sugi-ban” is an ancient Japanese art of burning timber. These stone timber boxes fool the scale of this avant garde residence amidst the existing monumental wild fig and pine trees. A forgotten stipple plaster technique (terraline) cuts perpendicularly through the timber boxes and creates a perfect and subtle contrast. A central plant room functions as the heart of the building generating warm water with a pellet stove, providing for large water tank storage, air-conditioning condensers and related electrical and electronic equipment. From entering the house a ramp and stairway twists and turns and purposefully forces one to be in awe with each interior and exterior view.
The house is divided up into five levels, each accommodating privacy; at the very lowest level a gym room with sauna and shower flows onto a secluded deck giving access to a circular cocktail pool and the lower garden. The first level breaths the light and soul into the house with a private main bedroom suite and the open living / dining opening up onto a north terrace overlooking the harbour. The kitchen is tucked into the forest between cape granite rock, large trees and a reconstructed natural garden. The media room forms part of a mezzanine study and double volume opening up towards the forest and Winelands views. Level two, similarly with levels three and four, could each function as a separate apartment with vast views framing the interiors. Large timber decks expand outward and creates additional overflow areas towards the various views. A larger than life construction sensitively cuts into the mountain side and one never fully grasps the house in its entirety. We had fun building this challenging, but beautiful creation.
This extention to the existing showroom is a continuation of the original brief from the client to design a showroom which would reflect the image of the company and that would expand as the company grows. The first phase consisted of a showroom/ boardroom/ administration/ storage space-addition to an existing house. The need arose for additional space to show complete mock-up bathrooms. The new addition is the first of a series of walk-through modules along the western axis, each reflecting the product growth of the company.
the new building is conceived as a kit of parts, a steel structure with supports along the cross-axis, enclosed by an envelope of corrugated cladding. The crowning pyramid is separate from the cross axis heat reflective windows. this allows a natural heat-rise air flow ventilation which is controlled with simple ventilator-slots in the floor.
The new building is conceived as a kit of parts, a steel structure with supports along the cross-axis, enclosed by an envelope of corrugated cladding. The crowning pyramid is separate from the cross axis heat reflective windows. this allows a natural heat-rise air flow ventilation which is controlled with simple ventilator-slots in the floor.
The architecture departs from the solid masonry structure to a floating modern shed, reflecting the latest product range of the company.