FIRTH 114802 (2014) by Three14 Architects located in Cape Town, South Africa | The Hardt
Designed for a young family in the suburban area of Rondebosch, Cape Town, this house sits on an elongated site with views towards Devil’s Peak and The Back Table, which is the south-eastern edge of the iconic Table Mountain. The client’s brief called for a contemporary, open plan home that provides a relaxed lifestyle and takes advantage of the site and its views. The resultant form is a minimal white box containing the bedroom accommodation on the first floor, hovering over the living spaces on the ground floor below. This box was articulated with strategic openings maximizing views and exposure to light, with a central courtyard carved out adjacent to the kitchen and dining room to create a focal point. The mass of the floating box is broken down on the street façade with a dramatic screen wall which creates an open-air terrace for the guest wing of the house. The screen offers privacy from the street while allowing views and light to permeate and is constructed from standard pre-cast concrete breeze blocks reminiscent of a bygone era.
The open plan living spaces on the ground floor spill out onto the courtyard and terrace to the North, with the garden and mountain views to the west. A hand-selected tree was planted in the courtyard as a focal element to provide a shaded garden area that fills the adjacent spaces with dappled light. The tree acts as a natural screen to the direct north light and its canopy creates privacy for the first floor from neighbors. The steel and timber stair connects the two levels and arrives in a large open plan utility space on the first floor which separates the guest wing from the master suite and maintains connections to the courtyard and tree below. Circulation spaces were minimized and were all arranged with external views on axis.
A simple pallet of materials allows space, light, and volume to take preference over decorative finishes and elaboration. The ground floor has a monolithic polished concrete floor finish throughout which blurs the threshold between indoor and outdoor living capitalizing on the South African climate. Upstairs, solid hardwood timber floorboards and natural limestone tiles create warmth and texture for the more intimate spaces of this home. Rough off-shutter concrete elements were used on the street boundary and the courtyard façade accentuating the white box through textural contrast. This light-filled home, completed on time and within budget, successfully translates the clients brief and is a carefully considered response to the climatic and contextual conditions of the site. The client’s willingness for a bold conceptual design has resulted in a strong contemporary form uncommon to Rondebosch. This aesthetic challenges the surrounding, traditional urban fabric and encourages a fresh approach to residential architecture in this suburb.
© Adam Letch
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Pearl Bay Residence by Gavin Maddock Design Studio located in Yzerfontein, South Africa
Pearl Bay Residence by Gavin Maddock Design Studio located in Yzerfontein, South Africa. This pristine contemporary home is located on the west coast 56 miles (90kms) north of Cape Town bordered by a nature reserve adjoining the ocean. Sites like this don’t come much more spectacular. Taking full advantage of the ocean views and responding to the coastal dune context, Gavin Maddock describes it as ‘a glorious site’. The client wanted a holiday house she would eventually retire to. The brief called for a ‘modern’ house with ocean views and a strict observance of a limited budget, which was to include the standard accommodation requirements.
With the front dune sitting up a little higher than the rest of the site, the challenge was to reconcile house, dune, and views. The result is a rectangular double story structure of 6,458 ft² (600 m²) 600 square meters with imaginatively conceived outdoor living spaces. It comprises three bedrooms, four bathrooms, generous living and dining areas both inside and out, a gallery, casual living room, a study, decks, terraces, and balconies: Ocean views exist from virtually every room. Given a limited brief the focus was on two main issues: a modern signature within the budget. The architecture and interiors enjoy various aesthetic interests and were inspired by the west coast landscape which is quite textural and typified by simple white houses and cottages, reminiscent of the Mediterranean.
Cavity brick construction was used throughout with all walls plastered and painted white. The building had to be grounded – it could not float – therefore it needed to be vertical, not horizontal. ‘Both the front and rear pavilions are two stories and the windows are sliced through to the parapet to emphasize the verticality. The two pavilions are joined by the gallery, which is a single story element where the horizontal lateral wall again emphasizes the verticality of the main building. There is a seamless flow between these spaces and a sense of uninterrupted connection between inside and outside. The floor slabs are off-form concrete, contrasting with the painted plaster of the walls, yet further expressing the vertical line
The scale of furniture, its color, and texture, were important to satisfy comfort levels. The unit seating and the dining table were customs designed to complement the space. The external furniture pieces were chosen for their scale and simplicity; bold pieces that hold the spaces together. The TV and all audio equipment were concealed in the living room wall cabinet, behind the large steel framed sliding panel that accommodates a substantial artwork. A custom designed fireplace was recessed into a stainless steel ledge. To maximize the size of the main en-suite, a custom-shower was created and glass for the internal walls was used. All bedroom floors are finished with wide board oak flooring; the view from the master suite is ever changing.
The granite tiles were selected for their texture and grain, which resonates with rocks in the distance, providing that external feel of being on the terrace. Their size is proportionate to space and contrasts with certain soft textures within the interior. Here, the selection of furniture includes various modern classics. Striving to reduce the structure to its minimum so as to maximize views, there are no ‘framed views’. The canvas had to be as large as possible on a site such as this, yet provide privacy to/from future neighbors and shelter from the elements. Using strategically placed columns, the opening was stretched to the maximum of 46 ft (14 meters) addressing the ocean. To achieve the lightness of the space, proportion, and height was essential. Ceiling heights of 11 ft (3.3 meters) ensured this result, with full height sliding doors. The living areas needed to flow seamlessly, creating a feeling of the outside deck to be inside and the living/dining space to include the covered terrace for flexibility. The full height sliding doors retract into the structure to form a singular space here. The result is an individual statement of appealing symmetry, a modern home with large entertainment areas and all the mod cons.
© Adam Letch
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