Sinkhuis Stellenbosch for Mr & Mrs Slee
Slee & Co. Architects
IT IS LIKE LIVING ON A FARM, OUR VIEWS ARE SO CAREFULLY PLANNED THAT WE ARE NOT AWARE OF ANYBODY AROUND US – JOHAN SLEE.
This is a remarkable house which fits easily into the landscape on the edge of the town of Stellenbosch. The architect has managed to place the building on the site and to then adjust the spaces both inside and outside in such a way that the surrounding landscape becomes part of the experience of the house. A strong and robust sculptural sense is palpable in the way in which the skewed geometry of the house is employed to frame views so that one almost feels sheltered within the landscape – almost as if the house is the landscape. This is achieved by angled cantilevered horizontal planes which are carefully shaped to direct and frame views.
In architectural terms a very simple strategy is employed – four parallel corrugated sheds are placed on the site parallel to the geometry of the site subdivision. This is then disturbed by an adjustment to take in and frame views. This very simple but effective strategy is extremely well handled spatially and provides the richness that would otherwise have been lacking if the original geometry had been left undisturbed. Of importance is the judgment displayed by the architect in which these geometric moves are made with confidence and nothing is overdone nor exaggerated to the point where it poses its coherence.
The garden is well integrated into the house and is tough and robust and is used in a way to project the plane of the constructed landscape into the “natural” landscape so that one is unaware that one is living on the edge of the town – one feels at home in the larger landscape.
The detailing is well judged and the failure of much contemporary domestic architecture which tends to rely entirely on detail for effect is absent.
This is a thoughtful, considered and extremely well made home deserving of an award.