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.