A glass prism, sleek in its minimalist purity can be glimpsed amongst the leafy roofscape of Kloof Nek Road. Provocatively austere, it is rendered more interesting by the layered depth that results from the inverted timber roof that is visible within it. The cube, like the lensed structure of a contemporary camera obscura, cues a building that, like the instrument it recalls, draws in, gathers and focusses the surrounding landscape (whether this be the distant sea and city, the nearer mountains, or the natural and planted greenery in the immediate foreground). The house offers an intense experience of “dwelling between”: Between outside and in; between nestled enclosure and expansive openness; between raw nature and the refined man-made.
A sloped site with a view stretching forward of it, arguably presents an obvious architectural design diagram that “can’t go wrong” (with the program arranged along a series of platforms that terrace down the slope). What warrants acknowledgement here though, is the precision of the three-dimensional fit to site, the way in which interconnected spaces, to all sides, inside and out, are both separated and linked. Circulation requirements that enable the building to operate as two separate dwellings, complicates the challenge, but throughout, deftly crafted relationships between floor, wall, ceiling and circulation elements result in a rich variety of spatial experiences, organised around the program and linked in a continuous whole. It is all integrally held together by a relatively limited palette of complementary materials – materials that lend both a mix of elegant earthiness as well as sophisticated polish, in their relationship to one another.
In the way that it makes the best of possible opportunities for living in, and on, the site; that takes full advantage of connections to the surrounds, it is an accomplished piece, deemed worthy of a regional Award for Architecture.