The house designed for Johan & Thea Jonker is located in Silverlakes Golf Estate, east of Pretoria. Built on one of the last open stands in an established part of the estate, it is next to a green belt surrounding the golf coarse, but is separated from it by Locke street. The odd-shaped site had a grove of existing soetdoring (accacia karroo) trees close to the street. This natural feature was retained and dictated the siting of the buildings; it was utilized to create a privacy barrier between house and street also but also to draw the natural landscape opposite Locke street into the site.
The Jonkers, a family of five, wanted a minimalist home that would provide separate functional areas for the family members’ activities. The program is split up into the distinct functional zones of the main house, the garage/service building and the outbuilding. The main house contains the family living spaces and bedrooms, while the outbuilding is a home office on the ground floor and a guest bedroom space on the first floor.
The outbuilding with its independent functions is placed closest to the street, nestled in the grove of trees, leaving the largest and more private location on the site for the main house. The site is entered on the southern side and one is drawn past the linear graphic façade of the garage / service building to a planting of fever trees and the entrance courtyard of the main house.
From the outside, a concrete lintol walkway defines the entrance route with the swimming pool on the northern side utilized as visual focal point in the entrance procession. A cantilevering concrete slab from the garage/service building provides protection, reducing the scale and assisting in a comfortable transition between exterior and interior. The main house consists of three volumes and one enters the house into the first open and transparent volume of the living and entertainment spaces. Its open plan configuration allows effortless interaction while varying ceiling height defines the seperate functions. The northern façade consisting of multi-panel sliding doors allows various degrees of physical interaction with the garden and outdoor living spaces.
The second, more solid volume is placed orthogonally to the west of the living spaces. It shields and defines the living space, southern entrance courtyard and northern outdoor living space. This more private zone houses the main bedroom and young daughter’s bedroom. Conceived as a withdrawn space, it is more intimately scaled. The third volume on the first floor level is the two older boys’ retreat and contains their bedrooms and a large playroom / living area. It spatially connects with the ground floor through the double volume. The double volume also acts as light shaft filling the ground floor living spaces with
natural light. The natural light and privacy is controlled on the northern and southern façades with slatted timber shutters.
The northern garden was designed as series of funtional manicured spaces inserted into a natural landscape of indigenous grass and tree species.
Photos by David Ross
2015 HOUSE OF THE YEAR FINALIST FOR HOUSE AND LEISURE MAGAZINE
The grove of indigenous trees on the site in Zwavelskloof Estate, east of Pretoria was the inspiration and generator for the design. Owners Quintin & Michelle Wiehahn wanted to keep as much trees as practically viable. Before the design process started, all the trees on the site were measured up by a land surveyor. It was then used to lay out the house meticulously around the trees. The aim was to integrate the house into the existing landscape with as little disturbance as possible.
The separate wings of the house each forms a separate functional zone and were placed around a courtyard. The southern wing contains the living areas, while the more private northern wing houses the bedrooms. A separate guest wing encloses the courtyard on the western side, while the patio / entertainment area defines it on the eastern side.
To accommodate the steep fall of the site, recessed stone plinths which seem to 'grow' out of the landscape supports the structure, creating a hovering effect.
Upon arrival, a timber walkway bridge leads one to the entrance. A concrete column (housing the guest toilet) forms an entrance beacon. From the front door a visual axis is created highlighting a prized sculpture. One enters the open plan living area between the lounge and dining areas, which are defined with low screen walls, still allowing continuous visual connectivity. Simple barnlike roofs with exposed trusses were used as main roofing elements and the floating affect was echoed with glass panels between the walls and roof, visually freeing the roof.
The patio & link passage has a slatted timber ceiling and polycarbonate roof, allowing natural light to filter through to the space. The staircase placed in a concrete box forms a transitional space which connects the living area level with the northern bedroom wing.
The bedroom wing is the family's space, with a TV/study/play room at the one end, two kid's bedrooms in the middle, and the master suite on the other end. The kid's bedrooms each has its own bathroom with a loft above. The main suite opens up on its northern side to a densely vegetated portion of the site, giving it privacy and the feeling of being in a secluded forest. On the southern side it connects with the pool courtyard. The bathroom/dresser area is open to the bedroom, but can be closed of with sliding doors for privacy if needed. The main suite also has its own private outdoor courtyard with an outdoor shower.
The guest suite was designed as a separate loose standing unit accessed from the pool courtyard. This affords guests privacy without disruption to the normal family life of the owners. It also has it's own private courtyard with outdoor shower.
The stone plinths under the house were utilized mainly for storage and services, but below the northern wing it was used as wine cellar with access from the boma.
Photos by David Ross and Thomas Gouws
RECEIVED A REGIONAL AWARD FOR ARCHITECTURE FROM THE LIMPOPO INSTITUTE FOR ARCHITECTURE (2011-2012)
RECEIVED A NATIONAL AWARD OF MERIT AND FROM THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS (2013-2014)
RECEIVED A NATIONAL AWARD OF EXCELLENCE FROM THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS (2013-2014)
The house was designed for Theodor & Thea Kleynhans and their three daughters. It is situated on the outskirts of the town of Marble Hall bordering the natural bushveld landscape of the neighbouring farm. A portion of the large site (two consolidated erven) already had established indigenious vegetation including mature trees.
The house was designed with a more solid southern street façade to create privacy, while it opens up onto the natural landscape on the northern side.
From the street, stark geometric lines characterize the house. The various building elements are defined by contrasting materials and textures of stone, off-shutter concrete and plaster.
Upon entering the site, the first of four stonewalls leads one up onto an elevated walkway through an opening in an off-shutter concrete wall, and through a courtyard space before entering the house itself. The opening in the concrete wall forms a gateway in the entrance procession. The courtyard serves as an intermediate space between inside and outside. Scale is reduced progressively to a more intimate height before entering the house.
The design is characterized by four stonewalls placed in a radial organization at 90 degree angles to each other. From the entrance space these walls extend as linear elements, reaching out to the context. They divide the house into three distinct functional zones and define the circulation routes around which the different rooms of the house are arranged. Stone from the site was used to construct these walls, linking the building to its neighbouring natural landscape.
The first of these functional zones, and the one that is directly entered into is the living area. It is an open plan space with glass sliding doors connecting it to the garden and pool. Glass doors slide away into a cavity on the eastern end of the space, opening it up unto the patio, allowing it to be either separate from or part of the living space. Supporting service spaces are situated on the southern side of the living area. Inspired by the simple agricultural barn structures found in the area, the steel roof structure with galvanized sheeting (for both ceiling and covering) brings an industrial element to the design and contrasts with the otherwise modernist stone, masonry and concrete structure.
The bedrooms, each with its own amenities, form the second functional zone. They are separated from the living space but still live out onto the garden.
The third functional zone comprises of the kid’s playroom, garages and service areas.
With the garden design architectural elements like platforms, terraces and articulated garden steps are used to extend the building outdoors and to form a transition between the house and the natural landscape.
The design aimed to capture the raw beauty and simplicity of traditional South African farm architecture in a modernist and contemporary way. Its successful execution is testimony to the meticulous involvement of the owners and the working relationship they had with the architects throughout the design and construction phases.
Photos by Thomas Gouws and Dook (courtesy of VISI Magazine)
RECEIVED A REGIONAL AWARD OF MERIT FROM THE PRETORIA INSTITUTE FOR ARCHITECTURE (2011-2012)
"The clients acquired a 1-hectare plot in Mooikloof Glen Estate to the east of Pretoria and wanted to build a modern and spacious family house where they could raise their three daughters. The brief called for maximized indoor-outdoor living and designated spaces where the family members could engage with their individual lives.
To make the most of the large site, the design intentions were focused on achieving a sense of openness and of being one with the landscape, in the building as a phenomenon and in the experience of it. Thus the house was designed as a single-storey structure, low slung and in the form of a simple H-plan, creating two courtyard spaces. The first is used as an entrance space and the second as an outdoor living area with a pool.
The living and entertainment areas are accomodated in the northern wing, which is transparent across the major proportion of its length.The bedrooms in the southern wing, which also have full-height windows, are set, for privacy and also to improve the sight lines through, at a level slightly higher than the court. Both look straight through the northern wing and connect with its view to the hills beyond.
To achieve this openness, steel was the obvious choice as the main structural material, freeing the walls to be transparent and adjustable. Large sliding glass panels in the living areas allow various degrees of openness, from completely open to completely closed, making them adaptable to weather conditions and flexible in use. The arrangement allows the residents to engage fully with the garden and landscape all of the time.
The design method is a free version of the Mesian tradition. Like the Farnsworth House, it is ordered by a strong geometry, but has a looser, less bounded composition. It, too, has a plinth expressed as a hovering plane, which is reached from the slightly lower garden by short stairs of similarly expressed treads. However, the element is not bound by the edge of the house, but continious past it to an outdoor living area. Similarly, on the one hand, the steel structural skeleton is exposed and celebrated, establishing the aesthetic language of the building, its modular rhythm producing a sense of completeness, coherence and harmony throughout. On the other hand walls are also expressed as planes and together with some structural elements, slide past the boundaries of the modular structure and evince a sense of freedom.
Although, on the southern edge, the building cuts into the landscape, binding it to the earth, the prevailing effect is of lightness over the landscape. Almost all spatial elements contribute to this. A central walkway, forming the spine that binds the separate portions of the house together, has a suspended steel pergola. The steps and decks in the court and bridge over the pool are designed to suggest a thin weightlessness. The long pergolas, detailed in refined steelwork, cantilever effortlessly. Above all, the low-angled, mono pitch roofs, with their 2m eaves delicately made with shaped rafters and sharp edges, 'float' as wide protective planes. It is a building of considerable technical refinement and geometric precision. However, its sensitivity to its immediate site, combined with all the devices to make it weightless and transparent, give it a powerful resonance with the subtly sloping and lightly clad landscapes it inhabits."
- Lars Adams, Architecture South Africa, issue 67, May/June 2014
Photos by Dook (courtesy of VISI Magazine)
INTERNATIONAL WORLD INTERIOR NEWS: LONG LIST FINALIST IN RESIDENTIAL CATEGORY “INTERIOR OF THE YEAR AWARD 2013”
"The project involved the complete interior renovation of an existing house situated on Muckleneuck Hill, overlooking the city centre of Pretoria, the Capital of the Republic of South Africa. With the modern art loving owners in mind, the design was based on opening up the existing rooms of the house and purifying it into an airy, functional art gallery-like living space.
Several internal walls were removed emphasizing the raw beauty of the original structural features of the house. Honest, simple cement screed floors and pale plastered walls were used to form a neutral backdrop for functional art installations.
The entrance hall is dominated by a grand piano with a colourful light shade canopy above it. This sets the playfull tone of the colour red that acts as a contrasting focal colour element used through out the house.
The stainless steel cooking island was designed as a dramatic minimalist sculpture. With a Perspex support on one side it appears to be floating. Despite the obvious aesthetic considerations it is designed for functionality and interactive cooking, and forms the centre point of the living area. A sliding screen door hides the service area of the kitchen.
In the staircase shaft, the heavy ornamental balustrades were replaced by a delicate cable screen that connects the three levels of the house. Raw steel tread plates were used as practical finish to the existing stairs. Functional fluorescent tubes placed in steel angles were used as stark graphic lighting element to uplift the dark space.
In the master bedroom the dressing room was placed inside a white glass box, which shows a hint of the colourful couture inside."
- World Interior News, 2013
Photos by Thomas Gouws and David Ross
RECEIVED A REGIONAL AWARD OF MERIT FROM THE PRETORIA INSTITUTE FOR ARCHITECTURE (2009-2010)
RECEIVED A NATIONAL AWARD OF MERIT FROM THE SA INSTITUTE FOR ARCHITECTURE (2009-2010)
LONG LIST FINALIST FOR WORLD ARCHITECTURE NEWS' HOUSE OF THE YEAR AWARD 2012
The house is situated on a golf course in Serengeti, a residential estate bordering the R21 close to OR Tambo Airport in Gauteng. The brief called for a contemporary minimalist house that provided security and privacy, while exploiting the golf course views. The site is exposed to extremely windy conditions year-round and protected outdoor living areas were a necessity. A priced collection of antique Cape furniture and contemporary art also needed to be a displayed.
From the outside the house is a simple minimalist box with bold clean lines. Warm wood and stone textures links the building to the more conventional neighbouring houses. The house is based on a traditional H-plan shape. The two courtyards created by this layout are screened off and treated as outdoor extensions of the interior spaces. A central double volume living area forms the heart of the house, which opens up onto both courtyards and also connects the side wings with supporting services and bedrooms. The building responds to the climatic conditions of its setting.
On the northern side sliding screens can open or close to provide wind and sun control. This also provides various degrees of privacy from the golf course and act as a security screen. A pergola over the pool courtyard provides shading in summer, but let's through the lower winter sun. An evaporative cooling system, solar geysers and a water under floor heating system provide the additional green and energy efficient heating / cooling for the house.
With the design of the Interior the clients' extensive collection of art and antique cape furniture is combined with modern pieces and finishes. Bold accent colour is used throughout as link between old and new and gives a sense of fun and playfulness to the interior.
Photos by Dook (courtesy of VISI Magazine); Karl Rogers and Thomas Gouws
This house was designed as 1 of 6 show houses for the Developers of Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate to illustrate the luxurious lifestyle the Estate has to offer. It has a distinctive contemporary lodge feel and was designed to fan out towards the expansive views.
In the design of the house, 'view' and the experience thereof are used as main form giving concepts. On plan the house fans out from the point of entry towards the expansive views of the golf course, dam and future forest plantation. The full-length lap pool extend one's view from the entrance foyer into the landscape. Walls are articulated as free standing elements defined by contrasting textures. Earthy textures and colors dominates throughout, connecting house with landscape. Frameless glass is used for unobstructed views and seamless transitions between indoors and outdoors. The house is divided into two wings; and entertainment / living wing and a bedroom wing.
The entertainment / living wing is largely double volume and houses the lounge, dining, tv room and study areas. The kitchen and its amenities are inserted as a floating timber box into the living area. Its bright red interior is used as focal point to contrast against the otherwise natural palette, and emphasizes its function as both center point and connection element between the separate living areas. Three chimneys serve as support structure for the roof of the entertainment / living areas. Frameless clerstorey windows in both wings visually detach the roofs from the walls and let them hover freely above the house as protective cover. The western sun is controlled throughout by a combination of sliding sun screens and automated solar blinds.
The bedroom wing consist of five en-suite bedrooms, all with walk-in dressers. The two Main Suites feature state of the art bathrooms complete with outdoor showers, outdoor decks and magnificent views. Red is repeated as focal color in these two bathrooms.
The interior furnishing, in keeping with the modernist interpretation of the architecture, are restricted to minimalist but striking pieces. The light colored neutral colour scheme compliments the darker earthy colours of the house and the retro-style furniture adds a stylish playfulness to the setting. Pieces were chosen for their comfort, design, colors and textures. Striking artworks in black and white by artist Antoinette Mitchell provide graphic yet subtle contrast to their earthy and dark wall colours.
Photos by David Ross & Thomas Gouws
The site is located in Boardwalk Manor Estate, in the Olympus- Bronberg area, east of Pretoria. Situated in the private north-east corner of the estate, it borders a stream and opens up to a strip of indigenous forest.
The estate is known for its prescriptive 'tuscan' architectural guidelines. The client brief however called for a contemporary South African home, challenging the architect to explore creative solutions within these limitations.
The tectonic design elements prescribed by the architectural guidelines were analyzed, reduced to their essence and reinterpreted within a contemporary South-African context. Texture & colour were used throughout the house to accentuate separate design elements. The palette of earthy colours harmonizes the house with both the natural and the 'tuscan' estate context.
Orientation and view dictates the functional layout of the house. Scenic views of the stream and forest are optimised by large transparent glass walls on the northern facade. These glass elements, including the balustrades, are kept frameless as far as possible not to distract from the view. In contrast the western & southern facades form a more solid screen towards the neighbouring houses. This combination of solid & transparent sets up a dialogue with the landscape and creates an effect of rural isolation from within the house.
The building form is composed of two simple pitch-roofed structures linked by a double volume living area. The circular shape of the Kitchen/TV room acts as central pivot between the various living spaces, connecting the main circulation routes. The main entrance is marked by a fragment of this circular form - emphasized by its height & stone texture, it suggests movement and draws one into the house. The ground floor houses the social & service spaces while the more private spaces (TV room & bedroom suites) are assigned to the first floor.
Photos by David Ross (courtesy of VISI Magazine)
RECEIVED A REGIONAL HONOURABLE MENTION FROM THE PRETORIA INSTITUTE FOR ARCHITECURE (2005/2006)
RECEIVED A NATIONAL AWARD OF MERIT FROM THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS (2005/2006)
Tolplan is a Pretoria based consulting company specializing in the development and operation of Toll roads both nationally and internationally. They were tasked with the development of the award winning Diamond Hill & Baobab Toll plazas.
The site is located alongside Lynnwood Road with high motorist visibility. Although access is through an adjacent office park, the character of the area is mainly residential.
Tolplan required a small office building for 25 – 30 people, with individual private offices, reception areas, boardrooms, and ablution & entertainment facilities. Preference for natural light & visual contact with the outdoors were given as design parameters.
It was considered important that the building should fit into its direct residential context in terms of scale and urban fabric. To reduce the visual scale of the building it was broken down into smaller elements.
The building consists of two north facing wings housing the offices connected by a double volume entrance and circulation space. Mono-pitched roofs on the two wings allow for abundance of Northern light. The H-shape plan was shaped around two landscaped courtyards. All off the offices have direct visual access to either one these courtyards or the perimeter garden.
Parking is placed on the side and back of the building with as much landscaping in the front as possible. Entry to the building is via a timber bridge over a pond. The pragmatic internal circulation is straightforward and allows for easy navigation. Simple raw materials & textures were used and connections detailed in an uncomplicated manner.
Photos by Thomas Gouws and Ana-lien
RECEIVED A REGIONAL AWARD OF MERIT FROM THE PRETORIA INSTITUTE FOR ARCHITECTURE (2003/2004)
RECEIVED A NATIONAL AWARD OF MERIT FORM SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS (2003/2004)
'Situated east of Pretoria, the house nestles on a rocky outcrop on a generous, densely vegetated plot. Barn-like masonry structures are grouped around a courtyard and open outward towards views and private enclaves claims from the landscape.
Sheet metal roofs with deep overhangs are supported on articulated steel and timber columns and are often separated from solid planes with substantial glazing. Taking inspiration form its context, the columns, materials and details are assembled sensitively and simply, reflecting the origins of the owners and reinterpreting the spirit of South African rural architecture'
From 'International Houses Atlas, World Atlas of Contemporary Houses; Casey C.M. Mathewson; 2007'
Photos by Sacha Lipka
This farmstyle house is situated in Cornwall Hill Estate in Irene, Pretoria. The design celebrates the simple beauty of traditional farm architecture, expressed in a minimalist, modern contemporary way.
Photos by Thomas Gouws
Text from Habitat Magazine, Jan/Febr 2013
The brief to architect Thomas Gouws was definitive: their clients - a family with three children - wanted a warm, inviting modern family home that would capatilise on changing water-scapes and nature reserve views. Further, the built structure should succeed in not impinging on the natural terrain.
Say the architects: 'We made a careful study of the client's specific needs and tastes, the site, its orientation and views. These various parameters guided us in generating the plan and layout and helped to sculpt the building as a three dimensional object.
The biggest obstacle was the orientation of the stand. The most appealing views are towards the north-west and we wanted to make the most of these vistas, but also had to take the harsh western sun into account. The solution was to construct high screen walls, which shielded most of the sun while at the same time contributing in framing and directing the views. We also incorporated movable timber and steel sunscreen panels to control the late afternoon sunlight. Both these design elements were to become distinct features of the house.
'Our client enjoy entertaining and their prerequisite was for a home where the living areas were in easy synergy with the outdoors. The result is layered living spaces; each interchangeable, with sliding folding doors and screens to either join or separate them form each other and the garden. This maximizes their functionality and links almost every room within the house with the garden and views.'
The shell of this house has a distinct loft influence, with plenty of raw, semi-face brick walls and industrial steel elements. This aesthetic contributes positively in imparting warmth, comfort and livability within the structure.
The garden was designed to blend seamlessly with the surroundings and it extends visually to the water's edge. Apart from the open-plan living and entertaining areas the accommodation comprises five en suite bedrooms, a study and and upstairs view deck. Amenities include a fully equipped gym and lap pool and a home automation system that can convert lighting and music instantly to entertainment mode. Various green features were installed, key among which is rainwater harvesting from the roof for garden irrigation and solar-powered geysers.
Says architect Thomas Gouws: 'This project succeeded due to close synergies of purpose between ourselves and an informed client. It has achieved the required end result because the clients say that living here feels as if they are permanently on holiday. The now prefer spending weekends at home.'
Photos by David Ross.
RECEIVED A REGIONAL AWARD FOR ARCHITECTURE FROM THE MPUMALANGA INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS (2011-2012)
The house was designed for Drs Nico & Amanda Ligthelm and their two young children. It is situated in Bankenveld Estate in Emalahleni bordering the Witbank dam.
Inspired by the simple agricultural barn structures found in the area and based on a traditional H-plan form, the house was built using two steel portal frame structures. Infill masonry, concrete and glazing elements fit into the steel structures to form the interior spaces of the house. Building materials were kept raw and natural where possible and the colour palette neutral.
Situated on a relatively small corner stand, the northern and eastern sides of the house were intrinsically exposed. To create privacy for the indoor and outdoor living spaces, the slope of the site was exploited; a masonry retaining wall cuts into the site and is used to shield these spaces from the eastern street level. This wall also acts as sculptural element that guides one into the house upon arrival.
The entrance foyer leads onto a double volume circulation space that connects the two wings and the levels of the house. Here the staircase forms the focal centrepiece.
The ground floor of the northern wing houses the living area. It is an open plan space with glass sliding doors connecting it to the garden and lap pool. Stack doors open up onto the patio on the eastern end, and allow it to be either separate from or part of the living space. Supporting service spaces are situated on the western side of the wing.
The southern wing’s ground floor area contains the garages and a sizeable staff flat.
Upstairs a study space is placed behind the staircase stonewall. The main bedroom occupies the prime eastern position in the northern wing with glimpses of the dam and a generous outdoor living space on the balcony. Sliding timber shutters provide privacy and sun screening on the eastern side of the room. A guest bedroom is situated on the western end of the northern wing.
The southern wing’s first floor houses the two kid’s bedrooms with a central TV lounge in between.
Photos by Thomas & Sureen Gouws
2010 HOUSE OF THE YEAR FINALIST FOR HOUSE AND LEISURE MAGAZINE
The long, narrow rectangular site is situated between the very busy Westcliff drive and a service lane in Parkview, Johannesburg.
The brief called for a contemporary home and granny flat/studio which are connected but function as two separate entities. Formalistically this resulted in a series of blocks placed strategically over the full length of the site giving the main house access from Westcliff drive while the granny flat/studio is accessed from the service lane.
The private spaces (bedrooms, service areas) are contained in these blocks, while the entertaining and living spaces are created by the voids inbetween. The house is articulated by this play of solid and void, creating a dramatic easthetic of floating boxes and planes. In the living areas boundaries between inside and outside are intentionally blurred to connect house and site optimally.
Different vertical and horisontal timber screens provide sunprotection and various degrees of privacy. A continous water element, consisting of fish ponds & swimming pools flowing seamlessly together, wraps around the house and contains the outdoor living areas.
Visual and physical relationship to this element is used as connective device throughout the house.
Photos by Thomas Gouws, David Ross, Antoinette Mitchell