CIfA 2017 Award for Architecture: House Burnett Prinsloo, Bishopscourt – Robert De Jager Architect


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If the architect version of Goldilocks were to skip along the forested banks of the Liesbeek River and come across this home, she would declare it “just right”.

House Burnett Prinsloo is a compact, elegant house comprising two distinct yet connected pavilions with an enigmatic street interface allowing glimpses through to a tumbling riverfront garden. At the client’s request, all the mature trees on the site were kept. This informed the footprint of the buildings to be tight to the street and to open up to the garden, affording views while in search of sunlight.

A particular design challenge for this project was to allow for flexibility of use for different life stages and scenarios: to craft a home that is comfortable and intimate enough for one person but could also cater for a future family, the owner’s workplace, a tenant or a live-in caregiver. The apparent ease with which this was resolved in a relatively small house with a modest budget attests to the skill of the architect and close collaboration with the client. This collaboration is evident throughout the home in the thoughtful resolution of storage and utility areas to leave a neutral backdrop for small moments of delight and personal expression. The particular achievement is the design of a seemingly generously spacious home which belies tight and clever planning and appropriation of all interlocking spaces for maximum purpose.

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