CIfA 2017 Commendation: House Hildebrandt, Higgovale, Cape Town – Paolo Deliperi


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The last line of buildings below the Table Mountain Reserve area holds tremendous opportunities, responsibilities and visibility. This building has grappled with this challenge in practical and poetic ways. It captures the wide-angled panoramic views from south east to south west and looks back up to the mountain from its outdoor entertainment spaces.

A robust concrete roofed structure with long spanning north facing openings, steel and concrete structure, heat retaining tiled floors, timber decks and fireplaces and an earth roof create a sense of solidity and groundedness while extending the mountain and green landscape over the earth roof, providing thermal buffering. Landscaped, shaded, cooled south spaces capture catabolic cooling that supplies cool air for summer cooling through natural ventilation. This, with systems of water harvesting and reuse and solar water heating, all add to the sustainability interventions.

Steel, timber and glass ‘light periscope structures’ introduce northern light and winter warming to the kitchen and art gallery which are situated deeper in the footprint of the building.

A redesigned site creates an elegant family home, a studio for work and an additional flat. The complex of spaces performs well as backdrop to display the love of art as well as natural and raw materials and a rich African lifestyle. This project captures and plays with the cultural references of African and Italian sensibilities, creating a great sense and experience of joie de vivre.

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