Sunset House

Open City Architects

The design draws inspiration from the legacy of modernist houses in Stellenbosch, referencing popular ideologies of modernist architecture such as the use of pilotis and horizontal proportions in the glazing. Diagrammatically the plan is an L-shape with the living room leg deviating from its axis to maximize the Northern aspect and take advantage of the views.

The ground storey houses the public functions such as living, dining and kitchen areas in what is perceived as negative space while the more private activities have been incorporated into the elongated floating structure which becomes the dominant form. Elevating the elongated structure successfully emphasizes its horizontality while drawing the landscape into the interior below.

This is however not a machine for living in but rather a celebration of the moments in the everyday lives of the family who calls it home. Passing through the space one can imagine the evenings around the cosy fireplace or extended breakfasts pouring over the latest jigsaw puzzle. Careful attention to ergonomics makes the house a pleasure to move through while encountering the special moments along the way.

The palette is rich and reflective of the diverse personalities of the inhabitants. Special attention has been given to incidents of physical interactions; textured surfaces and skilfully detailed door handles loom invitingly to the touch. Mirrors have been used strategically to enhance complex junctions and dissolve visual connections.

It is clear that there was a great amount of delight experienced during the seven years from inception to completion – The importance of which is often underestimated and neglected. Every built work of architecture conceals a confluence of experiences which Sunset House will longingly recall for the brother and sister collaboration for many years to come.

Architects:Open City Architects (Pty) Ltd -Bettina Woodward (Principal Architect), Nikki Onderstall (Project Architect)

Structural Engineers:Hulme & Associates – Alten Hulme

Main Contractor:S&S Builders – Schalk Burger

Quantity Surveyor:Apex Quantity Surveyors – Reynier Kuipers

Joinery:Blackbird Interiors – Wolfgang Kretchmer

Land Surveyors:Tritan Survey

Landscape Design:Verdigris Consulting – Vicky Crawley