Gallagher Lourens Architects
The house is organised as two primary wings accommodating private and public functions respectively. These are positioned perpendicular to each other with the north-south facing public wing dividing the site into two gardens and the east-west facing private wing positioned to the back of the site.
The northern garden is split by a garage and servant quarters wing and creates a private courtyard connected to the south garden by the double volume living room of the public wing. This sunken space is revealed only after entering through the single-storey entrance hall lit from above. This squeezed entrance space serves to emphasize the generosity of the central living space. The strongest gesture here is the two-storey-high window that draws in the existence of an old oak tree, the centrepiece of the south garden, and captures views of the Jonkershoek mountains in the distance.
The living room visually connects the inside to the outside of the house across the entire width of the site echoing a sense of place within the Stellenbosch suburb. Sliding doors and slatted screens that allow natural ventilation slide away into wall cavities revealing an exaggerated wall thickness that is not just functional but also necessary to create the visual logic needed for the support of the heavy exposed timber beams carrying the roof above.
Brick textures, plastered walls, and slatted screens interplay with light to produce an ambiance, evoking memories of other buildings with large and prolonged international reputations. In this family home, the architect successfully manages scale to create spaces for intimate settings with easy access to larger open garden spaces preserving the memorability of the garden despite its larger building footprint.
Architectural Project Team: Henk Lourens, Tina Gallagher and Mieke Vermaak
Contractor: PDT Construction
Quantity Surveyor: Heinrich Beer Quantity Surveyors
Landscaping: Benjamin Stiffler Environments