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